14 Jan 2006
SDP Forum Questions Government’s role in NKF Scandal and highlights issues of Transparency and Accountability in the Bureaucracy
A Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) forum highlighted the government’s role in the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Scandal; as well as transparency and accountability issues clouding statutory boards and Government Investment Company (GICs).
The event at Hotel Phoenix, Rose Room, on 13 January, 7 pm which attracted about 80 people lasted approximately two and a half hours.
The three speakers, in chronological order are Ms Chee Siok Chin, an SDP member; Mr M Ravi, a human rights lawyer and civil rights activist and Dr Chee Soon Juan, the secretary general of SDP.
MS Chee, who is also the moderator of the forum and one of the protestors outside the CPF building last year explained the purpose of the demonstration and the court actions taken afterwards. She went on to describe how other governmental various bodies such as GICs, HDBs and CPF are non-transparent by refusing to disclose their financial statements.
Her highlight of the speech was however targeted at the judiciary when V.K Raja released, in a 40 page report on the protestors’ originating motion, vigorously defended the public institutions instead of their freedoms to assemble that was protected under the Constitution.
Mr M Ravi delivered a humorous speech peppered with innuendoes and local slangs on how Singapore lawyers are cowed by fear. He also talked about the separation of powers and the need for a parliament with a strong opposition.
He went on to mention an impending case in Canada whereby EnerNorth Industries Inc., a Toronto-based energy services company will appeal before the Ontario Court of Appeal in April, in a bid to avoid paying a $5.4-million US judgment awarded to Oakwell Engineering Ltd., a Singapore firm. The company argued that Singapore justice system is corrupt and unlawful. Ravi explained that the results of the trial would have serious repercussions on the business community in Singapore.
Dr Chee who was the last speaker of the forum presented the audience with convincing evidence of warning signs on NKF such as volunteers’ complaints, questions by NMP Braema Mathi, letters to press by the public and NCSS revoking NKF IPC status. The ministers had however, prior to the scandal, publicly supported the NKF. His presentation effectively summed up the topic of the forum.
'Corrupt' ruling appealed, Ont. energy firm challenges $5.4M judgment, Canada.com
Judiciary steps into politics with decision on protests, SDP Media Release, 11 Dec 2005