Feb 19, 2008

Things You’ll Never Catch Lee Kuan Yew Saying

ST Feb 19, 2008
'I have too much power,' says Aussie minister

SYDNEY - AUSTRALIA'S new immigration minister surprised a senate committee by saying he had too much power and was uncomfortable 'playing God' with people's lives.

Mr Chris Evans' statement on Tuesday came after a series of scandals over the treatment of migrants by the conservative government of former prime minister John Howard, ousted by the centre-left Labor Party in November elections.

Mr Evans said there had been a big increase in ministerial intervention in individual migration cases during the Howard government and in some cases people had no right to appeal.

'I have formed the view that I have too much power,' he told the senate's legal and constitutional affairs committee.

'The (migration) act is unlike any other act I've seen in terms of the power given to the minister to make decisions about individual cases.

'I am uncomfortable with that, not just because of concern about playing God, but also because of the lack of transparency and accountability for those decisions.'

Mr Evans' predecessor last year controversially used his powers to revoke the visa of Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef and force him to leave the country even after a terrorism charge against him was dropped.

Mr Evans said he was considering an ombudsman's report that called for reforms to ministerial powers, including his ability to revoke the visas of long-term permanent residents.
I wonder how many people in Singapore still remember ex-SIA pilot Ryan Goh. Back in 2003, SIA pilots were very unhappy about their salaries and they had some disputes with their union over how the issue was being handled. Ryan was apparently one of the SIA pilots who played an active role in the whole episode.

Up till then, Ryan had lived in Singapore for 26 years. He was married and had four children. He was a permanent resident.

Lee Kuan Yew promptly kicked him out of Singapore, more or less overnight. The Singapore authorities suddenly declared Ryan Goh an “undesirable resident”, and his PR status was revoked.

Well, I guess that’s one good thing about being a Singapore citizen. They can’t boot you out of the country just like that.

(Of course, they can always still lock you away on Sentosa. Maybe for the next 32 years or so).


Anonymous said...

WTF.. that Lee Boon Yang has too much power too.

Films and plays he deemed undesirable are banned just because he's too much of a prude.

Anonymous said...

International Human Rights Organizations and the United Nations are all sleeping! Or are they impotent? saintmoron.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, one good thing (or rather, the only good thing) about being a Singapore citizen is that they can't boot you out of the country just like that.

It was for this reason that I had let my foreign-born eldest son become a Singapore citizen by descent (By descent means the citizenship is inherited from your parents, which means it is as good as citizenship by birth, as opposed to citizenship by registration which CAN be revoked). I had thought then: what if my son has lots of interest in politics when he grows up and end up wanting to be another Chee Soon Juan (as opposed to say, Francis Seow, who chose to leave the country)? Sg should belong to all citizens, not to PAP. It's LKY and his gang who should be leaving the country the way Marcos left the Philippines, not those who oppose them. My son may end up blaming me for depriving him his birth right to stand up to his political conviction without the fear of having his citizenship/PR revoked. Besides, NS should be served, because it is to defend the country/homeland which is not to be confused with any political party.

A few years later, when it came to my second son's turn, I had a different view. Why be a Chee Soon Juan? Sinkies are not worth fightiig for, as can be seen by Chee getting the lowest vote, and by how sinkies do not mind leading the life of a non-elite in an elitist environment that categorise citizens into peasant or elite, at 12 years old via PSLE and at 18 yrs old via government scholarships! More importantly, why serve NS? Sure, I know the likelihood of war is low, but it's the principle behind NS that matters. Serve NS for what? To defend democracy? To defend human rights? To defend a foreign land full of foreigners? Or is it to fight off invaders so that the PM can enjoy his world number 1 salary? So then, 2nd son is PR only.

As luck has it, I did not have a daughter even the 3rd time. 3rd one is still a boy. Now 1 year old. I didn't even bother to apply for PR anymore = why bother to give up PR at 18 to not serve NS? Might as well not become one in the first place. for reasons mentioned earlier. So, he is now a foreigner on long term social visit pass, staying in singapore as my dependent!

Oh, by the way, if any of you are wondering how come I can get to choose my childrens' citizenship, you too can do that for your yet-to-be-born baby. Just pluck for some "courage" to give birth in Canada or USA. (singaporeans are well-known to lack courage even to do such a simple thing. Unfamiliar doctor lah. No family support lah. You name it, there is an excuse for it!) These are the few remaining countries which still grant all newborn citizenship by birth, without considering the parents' citizenship.

The last I spoke to people at ICA, they told me off the record that they are seeing "an increase" in such American/Canadian babies nowadays! LOL!

Anonymous said...

In Australia and many developed countries, there is always alternative leadership and a strong credible opposition and democracy. No shortage of political talent (PM material) on both sides.
For some reasons (natural and man made), this is not so in Singapore.
If one side should fail, there is no alternative choice. Looking at the way things are going, this will not change for many years. And if there is any local "talent" shortage, no choice, do the obvious -import foreign ones. Good situation for the future? Any choice?

yamizi said...

anon @ feb 20 2:13pm,

I remember I have a friend who had a dual citizenship. He was eventually called up to declare to give up the 'other' citizenship and make to serve the NS.

It may just happen to your 3rd son.

And there's no point asking what is the purpose for NS. Because whatever purpose there is, once if you're liable for it and you don't turn up, you become a defaulter!

You should be asking how much inconvenience would NS toil on your son if he is, unfortunately combat fit.

IPPT, Remedial Training if he fails to keep in shapre after ORD, ICT, etc...

Anonymous said...

mr wang..sorie if my comment sounds random and un-related..

but im going to read law in uk nxt year. i have offers from nottingham and warwick, and hopefully kings college..

which one do you recommend and why?thanks

- don

Anonymous said...

With the advancement of the internet & a younger population who doesn't give a hoot to LKY, PAP's monopoly of power will be numbered.

For better or worse, I predict that Singapore politics will definitely change.

History will just repeat itself that no dictatorial Gahmen can ever remain in perpetual power. It's just a matter of time whether it's going to take a decade or a century for this to happen.

I won't be surprise if one of these days our PM is unable to defend his seat. Then next PAP starts losing some seats to the opposition. Once this happens, then only will we have some check and balance on the PAP Gahmen. Otherwise they will just continue to be as arrogant as LKY to say that the people have voted for them when in actual fact the elections are just rigged in their PAP's favour.

Anonymous said...

Hmm your link to wikipedia says it's 23 years...? Is 32 a typo on your part?

" Detained under the Internal Security Act of Singapore, he was imprisoned for 23 years without charge or trial.... "

Mr Wang Says So said...

".... he was imprisoned for 23 years without charge or trial and subsequently placed under conditions of house arrest for another nine years ..."

23 + 9 = 32 years

Mr Wang Says So said...

About the choice of uni, I'd go with King's College, but really I am not a good source of advice on this matter, cos I don't really know ...

Anonymous said...

And today, Ministar of Health has been given new powers to act in Mental Health cases. Is it something so major that we need a new law to be enacted?

Is this a case of the law being enacted because our current Ministar of Health is a medical doctor by training? What if future Ministars handling this portfolio are not? Do they need to be?

And to what end?

Kaffein said...

It was such an absurd thing about kicking Captain Ryan out of the country.

Maybe we didn't see his attitude, or the way he 'instigated' his fellow pilots to rise up within the Union.

But whatever, he has a voice. It was a big joke and I'd think MM Lee wanted him to be a scapegoat to cow the rest. And he sure did.

And to add later, they changed the power of the pilot union.


Anonymous said...

don't think our current health minister is professionally trained asa a doc.he has an economic degree..

Anonymous said...

Yo Mr wang,

Do u think e gahmen will sue me if i were 2 write a letter 2 e ST forum demanding a high allowance 4 NSmen? Most countries like taiwan and israel pay their soldiers with a pretty gd allowance unlike sg.

Furthermore, ns men in singapoore have 2 undergo IPPT,RT and ICT every year unlike soldiers in malaysia and taiwan.I really can't tolorate how e ministers ve the guts 2 increase their salary while each NSmen is paid a pathetic meagre allowance of $400 per month.
What is ur opinion on this issue?

Anonymous said...

LKY won't say that - he seems convinced he is greater than God. Remember he threatened to come back from the dead?

There are some interesting times ahead for Singapore - what will the casinos (oops, I mean IRs) bring? Can we be unique and not have a dirty underbelly which usually comes with gambling?

And the influx of new people. What changes will they bring about?

Will they submit to the degree of control the govt exercises over its people? Will they believe all the govt tells them without using their critical senses (what -apart fr fluoride - do we imbibe in Newater)? Will they become as docile as the locals here who have been trained like Pavlov's dogs to wait for the meagre hand outs?

Congrats and good luck to those of you who were far sighted enough to get a foot in the door elsewhere by yourselves (whether pushed out or by your own volition) or through your children.

Spare a thought for the less fortunate who are left behind!

moomooman said...

Ryan Goh deserved to be "sacked".

A malaysian who earned their riches in Singapore so that he can have a retirement home in Australia should know how not to bite the hand that feeds him.

I don't see why he should be sympathized.

People blow this up because it's probably ordered by LKY. Had this being ordered by GCT, no one would care.

So, this is an issue because some people do not like LKY, not because this is a wrong decision.

Onlooker said...

And he never do any research on the people he was interviewed about.
Like the obvious lack of knowledge of Barack Obama but at least he does not call him Osama like some American misleaded to do so.So some point given.At least research his senate bills and votings.
Note I'm worried because there is still an old world mentality that is blind to the future.
But really a local politician who is not current about the situation in America. will minus points on resume.
Actually the party is split in their opinion now? from an onlooker perspective could be Wayang though.

Anonymous said...

'I am uncomfortable with that, not just because of concern about playing God, but also because of the lack of transparency and accountability for those decisions.'

This is a good man. Rare gem indeed. Probably would also have said ' I am uncomfortable with being grossly over paid'.

Anonymous said...

'I am uncomfortable with that, not just because of concern about playing God, but also because of the lack of transparency and accountability for those decisions.'

Well trust LKY to twist the logic the other way - "This govt does not shirk responsibility and shy away from doing what is right! It takes courage and that is leadership! (now pay me another million...)"

There you go, hubris and all. Wow, i am starting to think like them! Hehe.

arthur c. said...

To momoman:
Even if Ryan Goh is a malaysian and makes good money from his job as an airline pilot, it should not 'disqualify' him from advocating for better or perhaps even fair treatment of airline pilots. The issue is I think more about workers' collectivism, empowerment etc.

Moreover, one should learn to look beyond oneself. And your rhetoric is reflective of the kind of narrow-minded ignorance that the current gahmen has so successfully bred.

Singapore is world-class in so many material ways, yet so backward and selfish in many more.

Anonymous said...

To Moomooman,

your views mirrors those of PAP's ... and that's the crux of the issue.... who ever voices out their thoughts which may goes against certain policies or agenda of PAP/LKY may not be heard... its my way or the highway... and hmm...sorry your point is ?

Kaffein said...

Dear moomooman,
What Ryan Goh did in grabbing all the riches from Singapore so that he can retire in style in Aussieland

is akin to

the many foreign talents that come to Singapore to work, fill our jobs, grab our riches and then leave the country and settle back home to retire in style.

So which part did you not understand or grasp?



Anonymous said...

To Moomooman

Ryan Goh was in the Union and he was fighting for pilots in the Union - he was playing by the rules. In other countries, it could have been worst.

In fact, I was disappointed that the whole SIA management was unable to carry themselves in handling the situation without interference from LKY.

We as Singaporeans need to be independent / break our umbilical cord of being too dependent on the government and play by the rules once set out clearly.