Monday, November 13, 2006

The Law protects the Elites

I heard parliament came out with some Penal Code review. I won’t go into the details becoz bloggers out there do a better job commenting on it. Everyone has their angles. For example Yawning bread is concerned about discrimination on gays, or Mr Wang and many others are concerned about curbing freedom, free speech, public assembly etc.

However I find one big element that is glaring in this Penal Code Review. I notice all the changes to the law are targeted towards what I call Blue Collar crimes. They are going to make punishments harsher and fines heavier. But what about White Collar crimes? I see no mention of changes to White Collar crimes. Maybe there are but so far I don’t see any reports or news. And no bloggers touch on this angle yet.

So it seems the Law Review targets the weak and the poor and the masses. It doesn’t target crimes that elites are likely to commit. Example corruption, corporate fraud, embezzle money, graft and so on. Not even expanding the scope, I think the punishments also remain the same. So you see the elites are getting away with it protecting their own kind.

If I change the law and say from today onwards if you commit fraud or steal money worth more than a peanut ($600k), the punishment will be death sentence. Straight away I tell you there will be no more cheating and corruption. Deterrence mah, as PAP always like to use as justification.

And this will be very effective don’t you think? Instead of having to pay millions to entice people not to be corrupted, now those who want to try some funny business will seriously think hard before trying. And white collar crimes are committed by people who are smart and educated, so they should be able to use their brains and think. If they still want to go ahead and commit white collar crimes then they cannot siam and say things like “oh, it was a moment of folly”... or “I lost my head there for a moment” kind of lame excuses.

Just take NKF and Durai for example. He was a lawyer and knew the law. This kind of smart educated people is 知法犯法 so his punishment should be tougher than say someone who spoke without a public permit or a pickpocket. In fact the Penal Code Review should emphasize on people like them and their crimes becoz this kind of elites are rich, knows the right people, and can hire expensive lawyers to argue their guilt away. Likewise if a minister or MP is found to be corrupted or commit white collar crime than their punishments must be double or triple or even life imprisonment or death! If Durai and Mathilda knew that they will be hanged for stealing peanuts I’m sure things would be different. This is a good becoz it also serves as a filter and sieve out those whose hearts are not in the right places especially when it comes to public office.

But instead of being tougher on white collar crimes the gahment does absolutely nothing on this category of offenders. This goes on in S’pore all the time and is not a new thing.

Take the SAF for example, recruits and privates and NCOs are subjected to charge or sign extras at the whim and fancy of their officers. But what happens when a Captain does something wrong? It is rare that the Captain’s superiors (Major, Colonel etc) will want to destroy a fellow officer’s career. So it is usually a harsh verbal reprimanding for wayang, sign some harmless extras and after that covered up. Why not charge the officer?? Why not demote the bugger or throw him in detention barrack?? It is only fair that leaders who fail in their duties must bear heavier responsibilities. But we all know such is not the case.

So you see from the SAF to real life, there is always a class-divide. The elites look after their own not only becoz of self-interests, they do so and deliberately use the law to penalize the non-elites becoz they are fearful of the masses.

S’pore consistently ranks high on being clean and non-corrupt, but who are the people who are voting in such surveys? It is always the bosses, the elites, the foreigners etc who are least punished if they do something wrong. And if the law punishes a non-elite for causing offence to an elite, than all the better and S’pore must be a wonderful place to do business!

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