20 Jun 2006

Rebuke for Lee remote when economics rule

Rebuke for Lee remote when economics rule
17 June 2006
New Zealand Herald
By Fran O'Sullivan

PRIME MINISTER Helen Clark is presented with a dilemma as she prepares
to roll out the red carpet for visiting Singaporean Prime Minister Lee
Hsien Loong.

If Clark is true to her principles she will castigate Lee ``ever so
gently'' over the punitive measures his Government is taking to silence
his political opponents. But if past practice is anything to go by,
Clark will simply turn a blind eye and get on with the job of cementing
stronger political and economic ties with the Asian city state.

This is not an easy balancing act, especially for a political leader
like Clark who needs Lee's support to further New Zealand's ambitions
within Asia.

There are big regional issues on the agenda. Singapore is considering a
commitment to send its troops on a United Nations-mandated peacekeeping
operation in East Timor. This would lessen the burden on Australia and
New Zealand who in reality lack the capacity to be ``peacekeepers of
first and last resort'' for the unstable mainly Pacific countries to our
north. On this score, Clark does need to emphasise the necessity for a
strong commitment from Singapore.

Singapore is still a prime defence partner for New Zealand and is
increasingly important to our business sector as a springboard to Asia.

There is much to be admired about the way Singapore used
state-controlled investment funds and infrastructure companies to build
its economy. Lee Kuan Yew's nanny state was determinedly capitalistic
but under firm Government direction. Savings came first. A compulsory
national savings scheme was introduced.

Unions were given monopolies to run supermarkets and taxi companies.
Welfare came out of employers' and workers' pockets. Loss-making
state-owned enterprises were shut.

National Finance spokesman John Key believes this country should study
some aspects of the Singapore model which appears to be in continuous
improvement.

But nanny state has come at a price. Nearly two-thirds of productive
activity is accounted for by businesses owned by the state or run
through the public sector.

Temesek, the giant state holdings company run by Lee's wife, Ho Ching,
is synonymous with Singapore. But there is also Singapore Airlines,
which was burned by its Air New Zealand shareholding; Singtel, run by
Lee's brother, Hsien Yang; Changi Airport; Singapore Press Holdings; and
Raffles Corporation.

These and many more are owned by Temasek or the Government of Singapore
Investment Corporation (GIC). The state companies want to spread their
wings further offshore, but the private sector complains they are too
powerful.

The Government hasn't said so directly, but the Lee model is now
basically being mirrored by Economic Development Minister Trevor
Mallard, who wants to expand New Zealand's state-owned enterprises into
agents for economic transformation.

One reason for Singapore's outstanding success story has been the
practice of the governing People's Action Party (PAP) to appoint leading
businesspeople and former senior military to senior government roles.

But the million-dollar-plus pay packets being dished out to these
``public servants'' has started a backlash.

When I was in Singapore a week ago it was obvious that a major gap had
opened between rich and poor. Singapore has a high home-ownership level,
much more so than in New Zealand, but high interest rates are biting.

Given Singapore's astounding economic record of 7 per cent average
growth for 30 years, isn't it time the country developed a first-class
human rights record to match?

Lee should be encouraged to applaud those of his citizens who insist on
their full democratic rights, which is in line with the stance he began
to stake out after first being appointed Prime Minister.

Instead, opposition politician Chee Soon Juan is facing charges for
speaking in public without getting a licence from the Government. But
Chee wouldn't have been given a permit even if he had applied.

Such action conflicts with the less restrictive environment the
international community had expected once Lee the Younger took over the
leadership reins from former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Lee had a singularly long apprenticeship as Goh's deputy.

When he finally got the big job, this highly intellectual politician
said he would introduce greater personal freedoms for the 4.5 million
inhabitants of the city state.

He also promised to loosen nanny state economic strings and encourage
well-ordered Singaporeans to come up with ideas to combat China's
commercial encroachment on its neighbours.

When Phil Goff was Foreign Minister it was his job to make New Zealand's
expectations on human rights abuses clear to visiting politicians.

Goff's style was to make his points behind closed doors. But right now
the only New Zealand politicians pressing these buttons are United
Leader Peter Dunne, who still takes a robust position on Taiwan's
political rights, and Green MP Keith Locke.

What is going on with Chee has not yet reached the heights of lunacy
that former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed reached with the
imprisonment of his reform-minded deputy. But there are uncomfortable
parallels.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everyone should watch this!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCmc3w1fs5k&mode=related&search=SDP%20rally

shocked by our youths said...

singapore schools are going down the drains... teaching lians to beat up 13 years old girl and stripping her while filming her with a handphone video... PM lee too busy with his travel in new zealand to talk to education minister.. about our growing problem at our schools... a weak government in the makings !!!

Anonymous said...

ONE-PARTY STATE and PARTY SURVIVAL is the MOST IMPORTANT!



Evil deed of Chinese Communist Party to maintain its one party political power – including Organ Harvesting from LIVING Falun Gong practitioners in Labour Camp in China

http://chinacommunistparty.blogspot.com

http://chinesecommunistparty.blogspot.com

To download ‘9 ping’ 《九评共产党》- (writings of evil Chinese Communist party) http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/4/12/13/n746020.htm (Source: 9ping.com)


or tune in to 106.5 FM (radio) for the reading of 9ping everyday at 3pm and 10pm

Anonymous said...

falungong again

Capt_Canuck said...

Easy to see why Singapore is a major success story in the way of finances. After all, look at an ant hill or a bee hive. There is the main ruler (Queen) that makes the decisions, all people have their place (worker/drone, maintenance, scouts, warriors), all have one main objective in mind (the production of the hive) and all rules are taken as being final with no question to the Queen on the fact of rights or freedoms or anything (hence why the male drones are kicked out of the beehive every winter and freeze to death and die while the female bees continue to survive..never heard a bee fight that one in the hive).

So, the main common factor between Singapore success and bee hives and ant hills? all are 'hive minded' on one single goal..economic advancement and to hell with freedom and rights of the individual but only the striving to increase the 'hive'

Anonymous said...

Singapore a place of freedom? Full of bullshit!

SDP's Chee slapped with 8 charges of speaking in public without licence
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia

Three members of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) have been charged with speaking in public without a licence - which is an offence under the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act.

SDP's Secretary General Chee Soon Juan was slapped with eight charges for speaking in public without a licence on different occasions between 13 November last year and 22 April this year.

Also facing the similar eight charges as Dr Chee is SDP member Yap Keng Ho.

Another SDP member Gandhi Ambalam had one charge levelled against him, for speaking without a licence in a public place on 22 April this year in the Yishun area.

Their cases will be heard again during a pre-trial conference on 29 June. - CNA/ir

Anonymous said...

See this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCmc3w1fs5k&mode=related&search=SDP%20rally

Anonymous said...

Singapore opposition charged for speaking without permit
Reuters
20 Jun 06


Singapore's most vocal opposition politician and two supporters have been charged with speaking in public without the required permit in the run-up to the country's May 6 poll, their lawyer said on Tuesday.

Lawyer M. Ravi, who represents Chee Soon Juan, the leader of the Singapore Democratic Party, Yap Keng Ho, and Gandhi Ambalam, told Reuters the men were charged with violating a public entertainment and meetings act by speaking in public without a permit on several occasions ahead of the poll.

"The law was from the colonial regime. In 1965, these laws ought to have been revoked. These are the laws that (Singapore founding prime minister) Lee Kuan Yew challenged in the 1950s. This law should be read with the spirit of the constitution," Ravi said.

A pre-trial conference had been set for June 29, he added.

Public speaking is prohibited in Singapore unless speakers have been licensed by the government. The People's Action Party, which has ruled Singapore since independence in 1965 -- and which was re-elected on May 6 -- has been criticised by human rights groups for its curbs on freedom of expression.

The government says that firm regulation of public debate and the media is necessary to maintain law and order.

Singapore's High Court ruled earlier this month that the SDP had defamed Lee and his father, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, in its January newsletter which criticised the government for its handling of a pay-and-perks scandal at the country's biggest charity.

The 26-year-old party, the most vocal of three opposition parties in the city-state, could face closure if it is unable to pay damages.

The SDP did not win any seats in the election, but won 23 percent of the votes in the wards that it contested. The PAP won 82 of the 84 seats in parliament, keeping the same number of seats as before.

On Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was questioned about Singapore's treatment of opposition politicians during a visit to New Zealand.

Lee told reporters that Chee had flouted Singapore's rules on public expression, and that his aim was "not to win elections in Singapore, but to impress foreign supporters".

"He's deliberately going against the rules because he says 'I'm like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. I want to be a martyr'," the Straits Times quoted Lee as saying.

Anonymous said...

that may be so, but the government seems very willing to help him achieve this

why not encourage him to go to harvard like francis seow? better for both sides

Anonymous said...

I saw the Prime Minister of NZ invite the Prime Minister of Singapore (TVNZ Channel One) to comment on the "freedom of speech".

I was shocked to hear LHL angrily condemn CSJ a "liar" and that he was "dishonest" among other things.

I am still reeling from that outburst.

Anonymous said...

CSJ is a very brave man.I salute him for his courage and sacrifice to make Singapore a more democratic country.Although he could not suceed without support from the people,he never gives up.As for LHL behavoir,it is LIKE FATHER LIKE SON.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Ms Clark should read her Bible, carefully, again—"Let he who has not sinned, cast the first stone."

The bloody welfare-statist/socilaist that she is! Fancy having the temerity to rebuke a fellow traveller on the Road To Serfdom.

And the same goes for most of the members on both sides of the house in the Aussie parliament.

Howard and Costello are the highest taxing statists in Aust political history—they have appropriated an obscene amount of dough off the backs of the people.

So much for free markets and personal liberty, MATE! Sir Bob Menzies must be rolling in his grave!

lee hsien tau said...

Uncomfortable parallels? Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed probably regretting not following LKY's example and make himself minister-mentor.