Indian Muslims are Malay. Appointed President is elected. Elections can be won without a vote. Resigning just a month means you are independent.
These irregularities turned into a reality and jolted many Singaporeans into realising that the country they called a democracy is actually a dictatorship. Under whose dictatorship then? Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his cronies.
Unfortunately the power weld by the dictator is not limited to himself, unlike his father’s time. Back then, Lee Kuan Yew was the sole leader whose words overwrite everyone, even of senior ministers. Lee Hsien Loong however created a consensus dictatorship and shared his dictatorship powers to his cronies.
Lee Hsien Loong’s ineffectual leadership gave rise to mediocres like Law Minister K Shanmugam, Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who acted like mini-dictators circling around the king. Like the eunuchs of a corrupted dynasty, the three corrupted ministers jeopardised the country’s judiciary system, town council system and public transport system.
Under Law Minister K Shanmugam, a crony Attorney General who was Lee Hsien Loong’s former private lawyer was appointed, the High Court was unable to define the first elected President without deferring to the Lee Hsien Loong-controlled Parliament, and the Parliament can twist facts because it is a “policy’s decision”.
Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong openly abused his ministerial powers to set Opposition Workers’ Party MPs up for corruption. The devious Minister for his smirk in Parliament known denied the WP Town Councils funding, then accuse them of not meeting sinking fund payment obligations. Minister Lawrence Wong is now looking to unseat 3 WP MPs – Low Thia Kiang, Sylvia Lim and Pritam Singh – by charging them of misappropriating S$33 milion in town council payments.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan is probably the worst among them all, doing next to nothing to fix the train system and even have the cheek to ask for a 7 year extension. When under intense public scrutiny over the increasing train disruptions, Khaw Boon Wan went into full denial mode: accusing the media of being tabloid, insisting that rail reliability is improving and using his fabricated fake news data to propose a fare raise. The superstitious Transport Minister even resorted to hiring religious leaders to pray for the broken public transport system.
Topping the corruption ladder is Lee Hsien Loong, who puts himself as the unchallenged Prime Minister, Chairman of GIC, his wife Ho Ching as Temasek Holdings CEO, and empowering his Prime Minister’s Office with the corruption bureau CPIB, election department and Monetary Authority of Singapore under his charge, for more than 14 years.
The present state of affairs is a dark age for Singapore no better than the colonial times. Many Singaporeans are facing arrests from criticising the dictatorship, and a number has went into exile including Lee Hsien Loong’s nephew Li Shengwu and younger brother Lee Hsien Yang. States Times Review editor Alex Tan is also in self-exile in Australia, CPF writer Roy Ngerng is in self-exile in Taiwan and Youtube film maker Amos Yee is a political asylum seeker in US.
A change is unlikely to happen and the dictatorship will continue to endure in coming years as many “agents of change” leave the country fearing persecution while elections continue to be fixed with newer regulations to give the ruling party an edge no opposition party can catch up with. Many Singaporeans still in the city are hoping for divine intervention. When news of Lee Hsien Loong’s prostate cancer hit headlines, many rejoiced but only to to be disappointed that Lee Hsien Loong survived his third cancer. Obscenely rich as these corrupted dictators may be, death is the only equaliser.
The poor and the working class population of Singapore are living without dignity: More young Singaporeans are unemployed, or working in part-time stints without a future. The “more fortunate” ones on full-time jobs are stuck with 60-hour work weeks with no overtime pay. The middle-aged Singaporean employees get displaced by cheaper foreigners. The disabled and unemployable elderly ones stricken with health problems pick cardboard for a living or beg on the streets selling tissue paper, while the rest works as cleaners, security guards or in low esteem jobs earning the pity stares of the people around them. Retirement is a far-fetched dream as CPF payout dwindle from the increasingly stringent withdrawal laws. Everyone is stressed out for good reasons: suicide rate is going up, crime rate is going up, unemployment is also going up, cost of living is going up, public transport is failing and a myriad of other social problems are surfacing. This is Singapore.
Yet on the very same island, there is the affluent and rich. Sitting on the top 1% is the corrupted ruling party members who reward themselves with million dollar salaries. Costing a total of S$53 million a year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s administration is the most spendthrift government in history. The corrupted dictator rewards himself with S$2.2 million, and weld complete control over the country’s finance.
CPF funds and the national reserves are invested by the country’s only two sovereign wealth fund companies: GIC and Temasek Holdings. Lee Hsien Loong puts himself as the chairman of GIC and his wife Ho Ching as CEO of Temasek Holdings, and gambled in the global stock market with Singaporeans’ money since 2002.
The dictator also positioned the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) under his Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and manipulated the interest rate payment of CPF – giving cheap credit to GIC and Temasek Holdings which profit from the difference in special government securities bond and their real return from global investments. At 2.5%, CPF pays the lowest interest rates among all retirement funds.
Aside of dipping his hands into the national reserves, Lee Hsien Loong renders himself above all forms of investigation by putting the corruption bureau CPIB under his PMO command. The dictator appointed his former private lawyer Lucien Wong as Attorney General, and commence prosecutions against the opposition and his critics, putting them in jail or bankrupting them through defamation lawsuits.
Such atrocities are not uncommon among dictators in history. Lee Hsien Loong is just another corrupted politician leeching off the people he is “serving”. The Prime Minister is just a fake title he wears while exercising the actual power of an emperor like a monarchy. Singapore did not get its independence in 1965, Singaporeans merely swapped their former British colonial master for a new one. The British were untouchable before, just as a PAP member today is.
To worsen things, Singaporeans are neutered and indoctrinated with the belief of “changing a system from within”. Those who tried gets swallowed by the dictatorship, while those who refuse to prove their loyalty are kept away from power.
Dictatorships are overthrown, not voted out in rigged election designed to keep the incumbents in power. Just like how the powerful British colonial masters were overthrown, Singaporeans must resort to public protests. The people must not be afraid to sacrifice themselves engaging in civil disobedience to overthrow Lee Hsien Loong.
The passage of time teaches oppressed people how to overthrow a dictatorship, and in all cases blood is shed. A coup d’éta, political assassination or uprising are called “revolution” when a new government is installed, or “terrorism” when they fail. Losers are never kindly treated in history, no matter how just their cause was. Henceforth, the success of any operation will earn you the label of a “patriot” or “terrorist”.
How does one motivate himself into taking these perceived drastic solutions, depends on the vision he has for the country. The oppressed looks only at the past and present and think to themselves: “If I obey, I am good.” This is also why most Singaporeans are pessimistic in their outlook, it is hard for one to be forward looking when there is a need to suppress his thoughts and hold his tongue before he speaks. To them, Lee Hsien Loong can never be overthrown and illegitimate methods must never be entertained.
For a start, Singaporeans must change their mindset and look to the future. The future where Singapore can truly be an egalitarian society where the weak is supported, and where the wicked no matter how privileged is punished. A Singapore where the people actively participate in policy formulation, and not for the sake of earning brownie points from a small elitist class of aristocrats. A Singapore where people voice dissent and criticise freely, without fear for his freedom. A real nationhood, and not a false democracy.