20150328 Governance system the real legacy of Lee Kuan Yew, not myth created by propaganda

As had been expected before Lee Kuan Yew’s demise, the PAP and the mainstream media have gone on a one week propaganda blitz.

For the PAP to capitalise on LKY’s death in an attempt to gain sympathy votes, it reveals not only the desperation but disgust.

We have seen ministers, sycophants, etc falling over each other to see who is able to elevate LKY to God-like status. But LKY was only a human being, a cunning politician who was as fallible as the next person.

But what is LKY’s legacy? Are most Singaporeans so daft as to believe the mainstream media that it’s merely all form and no substance?

It is an insult to reduce LKY’s legacy to the sum total of all the gleaming buildings, the most expensive public housing, advanced weaponry or stratospheric GDP figures. We have to look a bit deeper into how we have managed to “not drink water from a well” after 5 decades ie the system of governance left by LKY which brought us to where we are today. This is the real LKY legacy which the mainstream media have conveniently ignored in its glorification of Singapore’s first PM.

While we should continue to build on an efficient system with relatively little corruption, we cannot ignore there are parts which require an overhaul.

To balance PAP’s propaganda, below are some negative aspects of LKY’s legacy:

1 LKY’s approach was 100% top down ie dictating to citizens. LKY: “We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think.
To this day, PAP has continued with LKY’s approach such as in shoving the PWP down citizens’ throat. PAP has also continued to withhold OUR CPF despite many members needing OUR savings for our children’s education, daily expenses, etc. All part of LKY’s legacy.

2 LKY: ““If we had considered them serious political figures, we would not have kept them politically alive for so long. We could have bankrupt them earlier.” Where LKY had only bankrupted politicians, PM Lee’s lawsuit threatens to bankrupt an ordinary citizen who had highlighted the shortcomings of our national pension system. Not LKY’s legacy?

3 Under LKY, there was minimal accountability and the PAP got away with every epic failure. Till this day, the PAP has remained unaccountable for the wrongful detention of political detainees even after 5 decades.
(But across the causeway, the Malaysian government accepted it responsibility for the wrongful detention of 5 ISA detainees, awarding damages amounting to RM2.6 million.)
The PAP actually has it easier because ex political detainees such as Dr Lim Hock Siew was not even seeking monetary compensation but a simple apology.
Video

4 After gaining total control, LKY implemented a system of minimal transparency. Despite GIC’s inception 34 years ago, CPF members are totally clueless as to how/where our retirement monies have been invested. Even statistics which should have been in the public domain have remained state secrets and are privy only to some PAP members and the press.

How is the current government any different where transparency is concerned? What do ordinary citizens know about the businesses of lawmakers, the directorships they hold or their business dealings with the government? How many grassroots members have business dealings with the government and why is the public still prevented from access to such information?

5 Under LKY, the mainstream media were at the disposal of the government. Cheong Yip Seng, Former editor-in-chief of the The Straits Times, has confirmed how the government systematically controlled the press to achieve its political objectives. Till today, the mainstream media remain the government mouthpiece engaged in spreading propaganda. Flawed policies are never questioned but supported by distorted logic and half truths.

6 Ex top civil servant Ngiam Tong Dow said that when ministers are earning millions of dollar, they will hesitate to tell PM Lee off “when he thinks of his million dollar salary”. As a result, “the entire political arena has become a civil service” and he doesn’t “see anyone speaking up anymore”.

There are numerous instances which confirm even top civil servants such as CEOs of statutory boards and permanent secretaries are now only focused on their financial rewards, never mind if the people suffer.

The above are all hallmarks of LKY’s governance, copied and pasted by PM Lee while LKY was mentoring him till 2011. This is LKY’s real legacy and it is not possible to argue otherwise.

To sum up, LKY’s real legacy is the system of governance he had created ie having total control but without transparency and accountability.

Instead of addressing the shortcomings of LKY’s legacy, PAP and the mainstream media have created a myth.

Hopefully, Singaporeans will look at the issue objectively and separate the myth from reality.

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9 Responses to 20150328 Governance system the real legacy of Lee Kuan Yew, not myth created by propaganda

  1. Vanessa says:

    Which country in the world can you name of to provide transparency of the government system ? By doing so to the public , you are welcoming neighbor enemy invading your country.

    • phillip ang says:

      Every democratic country has not concealed as much information as Singapore.
      What do you think PAP is hiding when it refuses to disclose the citizenship breakdown of new citizens and foreigners? Do you know how your CPF is invested and have you even scrutinised GIC’s investments? Are you aware there’s no such a thing as the government guaranteeing CPF monies because we, as taxpayers, are in effect guaranteeing ourselves? Do you know that no one/country in the world would invest 100% of retirement savings in overseas assets? Why do you simply take every word from PAP as the gospel truth, akin to a child listening to parents? Are we welcoming an attack by neighbouring countries by disclosing statistics which almost every democratic country has published? Some food for thought. Thanks for your comments. : )

      • Christy Liam says:

        But it’s a fact that we’re all living a life much better than the past and at least there are evidence to support this. There are reasons to why people from the older generations are crying their hearts out ( they’ve been through it. And the sight of Singaporeans braving the rain today just to send Mr Lee off just clearly proves how great this man is. ) you’ve stated things like ppl not knowing where their cpf funds are channeled to and you’re clearly implying that they’re keeping our money but yea maybe that’s true but aren’t those assumptions too ? Claims without evidence has no value at all. Unless you’re able to come out w a legit evidence , then I believe and respect your words. Coming to this point , I believe the government has the right to stop and arrest anyone who make unsupported claims because those would only cause displeasure and tensions in sg and none of us would want that to happen.

        None of us know how funds are being used and hence lets not make any assumtions. You and I both know that Mr LKY has indeed changed Singapore drastically and this is a fact.

        Also, I believe every country has their flaws? I mean if every single human being has flaws then wouldn’t every government naturally have it’s own flaws too ? And to be able to achieve smt as much as what Mr LKY did achieve is something respectable. None of us , including you , can do it.

        Moreover it is not a propaganda , it’s called respect. We are educated people who chose to respect him. We’re not being forced to , neither are we being brainwashed bcos we obviously know there are some flaws in this government. But , we chose to show our respect and gratitude to whatever Mr LKY did.

        I’m just stating my opinion. Cheers.

  2. Shan says:

    The man was driven by power, and his subordinates, by money. The governance he left behind will ensure this goes on and on until Singaporeans decide that this has to change.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Congrats, Phillip. You have now gone on from facts and figures to consider the more important questions of principles of government and other deeper concerns of a long term nature. It shows a growing maturity of criticism. Keep it up.

  4. Christy Liam says:

    But it’s a fact that we’re all living a life much better than the past and at least there are evidence to support this. There are reasons to why people from the older generations are crying their hearts out ( they’ve been through it. And the sight of Singaporeans braving the rain today just to send Mr Lee off just clearly proves how great this man is. ) you’ve stated things like ppl not knowing where their cpf funds are channeled to and you’re clearly implying that they’re keeping our money but yea maybe that’s true but aren’t those assumptions too ? Claims without evidence has no value at all. Unless you’re able to come out w a legit evidence , then I believe and respect your words. Coming to this point , I believe the government has the right to stop and arrest anyone who make unsupported claims because those would only cause displeasure and tensions in sg and none of us would want that to happen.

    None of us know how funds are being used and hence lets not make any assumtions. You and I both know that Mr LKY has indeed changed Singapore drastically and this is a fact.

    Also, I believe every country has their flaws? I mean if every single human being has flaws then wouldn’t every government naturally have it’s own flaws too ? And to be able to achieve smt as much as what Mr LKY did achieve is something respectable. None of us , including you , can do it.

    Moreover it is not a propaganda , it’s called respect. We are educated people who chose to respect him. We’re not being forced to , neither are we being brainwashed bcos we obviously know there are some flaws in this government. But , we chose to show our respect and gratitude to whatever Mr LKY did.

    And judging from your posts , you’re rather pessimistic about Sg government and I think your claims are really biased ? Idk haha.

    I’m just stating my opinion. Cheers.

    • phillip ang says:

      If a person has been raised to God-like status, it cannot be simply defined as ‘respect’. How are our children to learn from history when no mistakes have been made by LKY, as painted by the mainstream media? Concealing what should be public information is wrong, so is not holding civil servants accountable simply because PAP is their political master.

      You said ‘none of us know how funds are being used’ but the strange thing is why have you not asked the obvious question and demanding your right to know? Yes, you have the right.
      Contrary to your claim that I’ve made some assumptions, I have already posted GIC’s listed portfolio of securities @ https://likedatosocanmeh.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/20150212-for-reference-only-may-2013-gic-listed-securities-portfolio/
      Are these fantastic investments which we are made to believe? Why has GIC been concealing information for 34 years? I hope you have some finance background to be able to scrutinise the list of investments. Or perhaps get help from friends.
      Most Singaporeans have placed their blind faith in LKY. You should respect someone who has been upfront and not the image created by the media. Read LKY’s quotes from the 1950’s right up to his telling Aljuneid residents off. You’ll know for certain how misplaced your respect has been for him.
      My experience with the government tells me something is very wrong and it’s not my imagination. We need a government which is willing to be upfront with the people and not hide behind legislations.
      I would suggest you try engaging your MP on issues of transparency before concluding our government is the best because PAP and the mainstream media say so.
      I have written lots on the CPF issue and will continue to write even more. I have even written to the PMO to seek clarification on Temasek CEO’s salary. There’s nothing wrong with asking and I really cannot understand your your reason for fear of arrest. FYI, I am a nobody blogger so why would the government even stoop so low as to “stop and arrest anyone”?
      I write to create awareness and to improve our system which has been rotting since Goh Chok Tong took over. Most would agree problems started compounding because of lax policies on immigration implemented in the 1990’s.
      Is life really much better than the past? For starters, I bought a 5 room HDB at $77,000 in the 1980’s and the mortgage could be serviced without a dual income. The price has increased by 500%. 6 years as a RSAF regular earned me an income of $1,400. Has this increased 5 times?
      Sometimes life may be smooth sailing for some of us but there are just too many citizens left behind by a system which promotes greed to an extreme. Can LKY be credited with all the achievements while we ignore all the flawed policies?
      I believe all you have written comes from the PAP or mainstream media. But the moment you start questioning ‘why’, you will have a more balanced view. Thanks for your comments. 🙂

      • abpap says:

        @Christy:
        life is better for who and as compared to what period

        I assume you are young and hold a good paying job. Good on you. I have many friends in their 40s and 50s who are unemployed or underemployed as in graduates PMEs driving taxis or jobs don’t require their skills/experience. I don’t mean to curse you but you will truly understand when you are replaced by a younger & cheaper foreigner even when there is no error on your part.

        As to what period are you comparing to, sure physical comfort is better compared to the 60s or 70s. Doesn’t that apply to most countries too? Go to KL or even JB, ask any malaysian and he will say life better now than the 70s. If you compare to more recent history, is life really better? even as recent as the 90s, life was better than now. Trains were running smoothly, flats relatively affordable, enough jobs to go around and it wasn’t so dense. Either you forgot or you are too young to remember. If you compared to past decade, how can life be better? Singapore has become over populated, there is a lot more crime, our PMETs losing their jobs, runaway inflation etc.

    • Xmen says:

      “None of us know how funds are being used and hence lets not make any assumtions.”

      Bernard Madoff was arrested for fraud in 2008. Before that, he was a well respected financier and a former chairman of NASDAQ, one of the world’s largest stock exchange. His clients never needed to know “how funds were being used” and never “made any assumptions” because he had delivered great investment returns to them for as long as 30-40 years.

      It is naïve to assert that “claims without evidence has no value at all.” Where do you suggest that victims of Madoff find the evidence if they are not given access?

      It will not be a surprise if some people go to jail when the new government takes over – especially if you believe that “every single human being has flaws” and “every country has their flaws”.

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