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Saturday, February 17, 2007

PAP should throw Black Sheep out

PAP Should Throw Black Sheep Out

There are a number of black sheep in the PAP but Lee Kuan Yew is the biggest of them all.

To begin with, he tells outright lies when these serve his purposes.

For example, he jailed Said Zahari without trial for 16 years on grounds that Said was a "pro-communist," a "Malay chauvinist," and that the Malaysian government had "requested" his continued detention (denied by Kuala Lumpur). Other flights of his powerful imagination include castigating Said Zahari as "an agent of a foreign power" or "he had refused to renounce violence as a political instrument."

Similarly, he jailed Chia Thye Poh for 23 years plus another 9 years of restriction orders for 'being a member of the Communist Party and infiltrating into the Socialist Front to carry out illegal activities aimed at destabilising the government'.

In the 1987 arrests, 22 men and women were arrested as "Marxists" although he privately acknowledged to a confidant that "they were not really Marxists, just do-gooders".

All these men and women jailed on spurious grounds and outright lies are just a small fraction of the total number who languished in Lee Kuan Yew's ISD jails. Most remain unknown to this day.

Being a blatant LIAR is bad enough for a politician, but he has many other vices as well.

Take GREED for example. He has cleverly employed his demagoguery to convince many of us that he and his ministers need and deserve $2 million a year, nothing less (and rising). Since this issue is so obvious and so much has been written on this, just do a site search using "ministerial salaries", etc).

Lee Kuan Yew is also CORRUPT, exposed for questionable involvement, together with his wife, his brothers, sister, in-laws, son Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching, daughter Lee Wei Ling, other relatives, family friends and associates, in the greatly discounted multi-million-dollar HPL condominium scandal which became public knowledge in 1996.

He is also INEPT in government.

Although Singapore boomed when the whole region and Northeast Asia boomed, Lee Kuan Yew put into practice many inept policies that are ruining Singapore.

For example, his simplistic understanding and overrating of the importance of a high savings rate. Using the CPF and punitive taxes on 'luxury' goods, he enforced an extremely high rate of national savings -- which he then frittered away.

It is naive economics to believe that high savings rates are good for the country and the people. In Lee's case, it simply means that he gets to spend for us on what he thinks is good for his own clout with other countries, in cases like the Suzhou Industrial Park (after losing heavily there and not being able to outwit the Chinese, he now prefers the Australians, who are easier to handle because they play by the rules). He clamps down on spending so well that the retail sector has been in the doldrums for a decade. Example, no credit card may be issued to those who earn less than $2,500 a month. Similarly, we all have little discretionary spending power because much of our money goes to the CPF and other high taxes and levies. Probably distorting much of the natural and normal working of the economy.

His "go regional" drive is proving particularly dangerous. In another simplistic application of a policy the advanced countries have tried, he forced his big companies into regional (ad)ventures. Today, we are beginning to have a clearer picture where that led: in the STI of 10 July 2001, we read that DBS Group Holdings, fell from No 388 last year to No 456 this year as its market value plummeted by US$3.24 billion to US$10.47 billion, in the Global 1000 Survey. All this, while OCBC chalked up 61 places to No 613 and UOB zoomed up 125 places to settle at No 706. DBS' fall probably had a lot to do with its regionalisation drive while the other 2's rises probably had a lot to do with their non-regionalisation conservatism.

Since his "go regional" drive was only begun in the last few years, we are only now beginning to witness the results coming home to roost.

Our present economic troubles also had to do with Lee Kuan Yew's peculiar fascination with high technology industries and manufacturing. Refusing to allow the natural transition to a service economy, he pushed for hi-tech manufacturing so that when the US sneezed after the dot.com demise, our economy caught a chill. We are now technically in a recession.

Of course, his mouth is still working. Our economic troubles are a result of "unavoidable slowdowns in US, Europe and Japan". Not his fault. This of course, implies that other countries who have recessions suffer so because of their own stupidity. Ours are due to "external factors beyond our control".

His INTOLERANCE of criticism and love of fawning admiration created the media that we have today. A totally one-sided media that serves as his mouthpiece instead of the people's. That feeds information one way from his government to the people with little travelling back. (Exactly like the new PAP website).

There is much else, too. How he has systematically corrupted every institution in the country from the JUDICIARY to the UNIVERSITIES, from the IRAS to NATIONAL SERVICE.

His UNCARING nature and total SELFISHNESS are seen in the stingy amounts he allows social welfare recipients every month, and the little he spends on the sick poor.

Of course, volumes have been written about his brand of politics that systematically destroys personally and financially every opposition leader that emerged or is emerging as a credible threat. Just look at the plight of Tang Liang Hong or Chee Soon Juan or JBJ or even Francis Seow. If you still have doubts, read "Comet in the Sky"; it'll put them all to rest!

Now, having established that Lee Kuan Yew is the biggest black sheep in the PAP, what next?

The proposed solution: throw him out.

This is not as fanciful as it seems. Longtime leaders of political parties the world over have been thrown out when they are no longer relevant or when their mistakes and evil have become too much of a drawback to the party. Except for dictators, of course, who can never be removed. Is that the case, here?

If it is not, PAP members should consider expelling Lee Kuan Yew from the party in order to repudiate his wrongdoings and mistakes, and most importantly, to distance the party from his excesses. By doing so, the PAP becomes almost invincible as a party that even the opposition can do little against -- even if allowed to do their best, or worst.

Imagine a PAP with Lee Kuan Yew (and necessarily, Lee Hsien Loong) gone and totally repudiated. Then, the PAP can quietly go on to reverse his mistakes and his worst wrongdoings, thereby becoming practically invulnerable to opposition attacks. Right now, many diehard oppositionists and supporters continue their defiance only because of him. Without him, they would have little to rail against. Without him, PAP policies can be quietly amended, his precious thoughts dropped, and his cherished strictures re-examined for relevance.

The upshot could well be a new era of PAP and opposition politics. With both sides engaging in 'friendly' rivalry for the votes, without Lee Kuan Yew's annihilation approach that sees every opposition leader as a threat to national security and one to be destroyed using every underhand means.

This could lead to mass participation in national political and social issues, with most adults casting off the present Lee Kuan Yew induced FEAR that hamstrings all discussions and participation. Singaporeans would not have to be fearful about speaking up and we would not even need a Speakers' Corner that is more for show than speaking up. Lively discussions would spontaneously happen everywhere and many more minds would turn to solving national problems instead of at present, where they only dare to grouse in private.

It will be a different society, but a better one. One that is due now, whose time is now. One that will happen anyway, even if the PAP resists. By letting it happen, and going its way, the PAP can gain immensely and regain the moral leadership it has lost.

All this could happen if the PAP takes a closer look at the Big Black Sheep in its (PAP) white sheep clothing.