May 28, 2008
Chee takes issue with NGO endorsements listed by MM
SDP chief dismisses NGO reports cited by MM with good views of Singapore, listing instead those that rate the country poorly
SINGAPORE Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan yesterday questioned the types of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) whose ratings and reports Singapore paid attention to.
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew had listed a few, including Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (Perc); IMD, the Swiss business school which produces the World Competitiveness Yearbook; and Transparency International, which awarded him a Global Integrity Medal in 2000.
But Dr Chee dismissed the medal as a 'ridiculous piece of paper', and rattled off his own list of NGOs which did not rate Singapore highly.
His beef: Singapore and its leaders choose to listen only to NGOs which give the country a good rating, and base their integrity and leadership skills on such reports.
'Are you including the International Commission of Jurists? Are you including Human Rights Watch? Are you including Amnesty International? Are you including the International Federation for Free Exchange? Are you including the South-east Asian Press Alliance? Are you including Liberal International?' he asked.
'Let us not pick and choose what endorsements you get, because over all, if you're trying to show me your standing in the world is that high, you wouldn't be clutching at straws and producing something from Tunku (Abdul) Aziz,' he charged.
Dr Chee was referring to the president of Transparency International's Kuala Lumpur branch, which gave MM Lee the integrity medal in 2000.
Dr Chee alleged that its chairman, Mr Peter Eigen, whom he met, told him he did not authorise its Malaysia branch to give MM Lee the award.
Reading from the citation for the award earlier, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh had noted: 'In endorsing this award, the chairman of Transparency International, Mr Peter Eigen, says: 'The role of Lee Kuan Yew in fighting corruption in Singapore is well known and is considered an important model for fighting against corruption.''
Dr Chee was cross-examining MM Lee on Day 2 of the hearing to decide on defamation damages owed by the SDP, himself and his sister Chee Siok Chin.
At issue was the use of NGO reports as a testimony of MM Lee's integrity, which Dr Chee attacked.
MM Lee explained that Singapore paid attention to NGO reports which investors use as a reference when deciding which countries to put their money in.
'There are liberal organisations which disagree with the way Singapore runs its social systems, but we believe we know better, otherwise we wouldn't be here,' said MM Lee.
To this, Dr Chee interjected that MM Lee was being 'a little presumptuous' to think that Singapore would not be what it is without him and his government.
Dr Chee asserted that places such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea thrive without MM Lee's system of governance.
In response, MM Lee cited how the President of Taiwan, Mr Ma Ying-jeou, after a visit here earlier, said he wanted Taiwan to become like Singapore, corruption-free.
China premier Wen Jiabao, added MM Lee, also told Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang to 'go to Singapore and see what they are doing'.
'There are various parts of this Government which do not comply with Western practices, including the law of libel, but it is a system that has worked,' said MM Lee.
Truth is countries like Taiwan and China wants to become like Spore only in certain areas, such as administrative expertise. They are certainly not endorsing LKY's political system. LKY conveniently ignored and twisted this fact.
Actually the whole exchange reminds me of an incident several years ago in NUS. Then LKY has gotten into a verbal tangle with a student, Jaime Han. Han has called LKY a despot (bravo!!!) and said that LKY loves to furnish one-sided examples to suit his argument while ignoring those critical of him. As LKY started to get worked up and get personal with Han, Han quite correctly excused himself and chose not to indulge Lee further leaving LKY seething. I managed to view the NUS video recording of the incident. I applaud Han for calling a spade a spade and the scowl on LKY's face is simply priceless hahaha!
As expected the 154th media has been extremely busy the past two days. When it comes to political coverage the 154th media is quite simply trash and completely biased. TODAY's coverage by some dick paulo pinoy is even worse. But thanks to the internet, I urge SGians to visit http://yoursdp.org/ to read the other side of the coverage and make up their own minds on what really goes on in court. The truth is probably somewhere in between and less flattering on LKY and his far from independent judiciary.