Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum Treats Singaporeans as Second Class, Is Corrupt Electioneering for LHL and the PAP and Shows FICA Is an Unequal and Unconstitutional Law
Recently I tweeted about the case of the former Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurtz. He has been forced to step down because he is under investigation for embezzling public funds to bribe prominent media figures and pollsters in order to ensure favourable coverage.
I have been saying for some time now that PM Lee’s use of a media monopoly that his father created, using bogus claims of foreign interference and unspecified threats to national security, along with his control of every aspect of Singaporeans’ lives, to maintain his hold on power is corrupt.
The result of that power has been considerable enrichment for him and the other members of his family. Not only has he enjoyed a multimillion dollar salary for two decades, he employs his wife, until she stepped down this month as CEO of Temasek, on a secret salary which was so embarrassing that LHL instructed his servant Heng Swee Keat to issue a POFMA and Lawrence Wong to go to Parliament and lie that Temasek was a private company and that Singaporeans had no right to know the salaries of management (including not only Ho Ching but the many foreigners who work there while Singaporeans with better qualifications are forced to work outside Singapore). Then there is the considerable but secret inheritance from his parents which includes what must have been enormous earnings from his mother’s law firm’s near monopoly over HDB conveyancing, which could be in the billions of dollars. As John Locke, the 17th century English political philosopher said, “ When Political Power Is Used for Private Profit, Tyranny Prevails”, an aphorism much used by my late father.
Not content with its domestic media monopoly, which ensures that LHL gets to vet all his coverage and can fire any editor who displeases him, the PAP Government uses state resources to bribe foreign news organisations to ensure sycophantic coverage. The latest example of this is on display with the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, which Singapore is hosting. This has created much anger among Singaporeans, since participants in the forum will be able to dine in groups of 5 while Singaporeans remain restricted to a maximum of 2. Gan Kim Yong has been sent in to defend the exceptions being made for foreign and Singaporean participants on the grounds that hosting the forum is necessary to maintain Singapore’s status as a global hub city. He has defended the exception on the grounds that participants will be double vaccinated but so are over 80% of Singaporeans. Participants will have to be pre-tested but Gan says this is impractical for 5 million Singaporeans. In other words, he is saying that these people, who from the participants’ list are mostly foreigners, are more important than Singaporeans.
Gan may claim that hosting the forum is necessary to maintain Singapore’s global hub status but it is abundantly clear that hosting the forum provides an opportunity for LHL to pose on a global stage with members of the global elite and so-called “thought leaders” like Henry Kissinger and the head of McKinsey’s. It is advertised by Blloomberg as being attended by “750+ of the world’s most influential CEOs, leaders, visionaries, scientists, entrepreneurs, and policymakers” and having 100 million global viewers. LHL is validated as one of the 750 most influential people in the world in what is essentially free advertising for himself and his Government. How much is the Government subdividing the event using public money? If it is subsidised then the PM is just as guilty of corruption as the former Austrian Chancellor.
This event also means that Singaporeans are not equal before the law and do not enjoy the equal protection of the law, as required by Article 12(1) of the Constitution. The fact that some people are above the law demonstrates that rule of law does not exist. Not only are Singaporeans not allowed to dine in groups of 5, but the new and totalitarian Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (FICA) is also shown to operate only against those who are the PAP’s opponents. LHL, who of course is a “politically significant person” (as defined by the Act) is receiving help from foreigners aimed at keeping him and his Government in power. Billionaires like Mike Bloomberg, the former Democratic Mayor of New York and the head of the eponymous news and information organisation, state frequently how the US needs to emulate Singapore as a shining example of good governance and supposed incorruptibility. No one can doubt that this assistance is because he and other foreign organisations want to ensure that Singapore maintains its policies of making it very easy for foreigners to come and work here, even if it means Singaporeans losing out on good paying jobs, and its zero tax rates on capital and sweetheart deals for foreign investors. It may be open to debate on whether these policies are good for Singapore, even if many Singaporeans lose out, but what is not in doubt is that FICA should operate even handedly and not be yet another measure that is applied at the PAP’s discretion and designed to handicap their opponents while giving them and their foreign supporters a free hand. Once again this proves there is no rule of law in Singapore.