“I Will Be Transparent and Above Board”: TPL Expresses the PAP’s “Ownself Check Ownself” Philosophy Perfectly
Called out by me on Wednesday for ignoring the glaring conflict of interest in accepting the position of Director of Public Policy at Grab while an MP, Tin Pei Ling resorted to the time honoured PAP tradition of Orwellian Doublespeak, or plain old-fashioned hypocrisy. She claims she is perfectly able to wear two hats at the same time:
“I am absolutely clear that when I am discharging my duties as an MP, my constituents and Singapore come first. When I am working on behalf of Grab, I will have to ensure that Grab’s interests are safeguarded,”
She went on to say:
“The company has established clear rules of engagement to ensure that any possible conflict of interest will be properly declared and avoided.Likewise, the People’s Action Party has a published set of rules of prudence, as well as mechanisms in place for declarations of interest and the avoidance of conflicting interests.”
I am indebted to Ms Tin for probably one of the purest expressions of the PAP’s doublespeak of “ownself check ownself” as to why there is no need for checks and balances and accountability. Her point is that all the PAP Ministers and MPs are fine upstanding and incorruptible individuals, with the exception of a few rotten eggs such as Teh Cheng Wan, who was mysteriously able to obtain a large supply of pills to kill himself, and Phey Yew Kok, whose trial took place in secret presumably so that details which ordinary Singaporean mortals were not entitled to know lest it engender unwholesome thoughts about their rulers were kept secret.
The most egregious example of the PAP’s philosophy is the PM’s appointment of his wife on a secret salary to head Temasek and to a lesser extent his son’s appointment to head the Technology Agency as well as the refusal to disclose any details about the reserves and how they are managed. Appointments of family members are not evidence of corruption or nepotism because they were appointed strictly on merit and it should be self-evident to Singaporeans that these were the best candidates for the job. Even when LKY and his son were caught taking favours from Ong Beng Seng in the form of discounts on property not available to the public they were allowed to pay it back without any sanction as just an honest and trivial peccadillo. LHL said he knew nothing about the property market but was just using some savings he had accumulated after working in Daddy’s company for several years to buy a humble abode. Stretching back further in time there was the example of LKY’s wife being head of Lee and Lee while he was PM and cornering the HDB conveyancing market. The justification given for this licence to print money was that it would be unfair to hold Lee and Lee back from competing on equal terms with other law firms. By comparison minor public servants like policemen or ICA officials who take bribes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, which serves as a shining example for foreign sycophants to point to and justifying our high ranking for being corruption free by box ticking robots like Transparency International.
Recently the Government has refused to give anything more than a stern warning to the Keppel Six who were caught by the US handing out US$55 million in bribes to Brazilian politicians and Petrobras executives. No doubt the Government will say that these state industry executives, all connected to the ruling party and whose companies were part of the Temasek stable overseen by the PM’s wife, were only acting in the best interests of Singapore by paying off dodgy and venal foreigners to secure lucrative contracts and there is no leakage or carry through from what is done abroad to practices at home.
TPL may be a fork-tongued hypocrite but then she has learnt from the best. But the sad thing is that Singaporeans have accepted the double standards of their leaders. They have been indoctrinated to accept doublethink, or the holding of two contradictory beliefs in their minds at the same time but accepting both of them. Thus corruption is bad but in Singapore our leaders, spouses and relatives are allowed to hold all the top positions and help themselves to public funds secretly because they are the best people for the job. Also bribing dodgy foreigners is not a crime. We must safeguard our reserves for the benefit of future generations but our children must go hungry. Freedom of expression and a free media is good but not in Singapore where instead we have a monopoly that works to keep LHL’s party in power. Singaporeans are incredibly talented but we must welcome foreigners with mediocre degrees and pay them better than our own people. NS is necessary but not for new immigrants. That is just a few examples. Until the scales of doublethink drop from Singaporeans’ eyes our leaders can continue to sleep easy.