The SG PR machine will do its very best to persuade the world that he was a benevolent man. The truth is far more complicated and in some instances downright sinister. His economic legacy may be available for all to see, but at what cost?
The Telegraph even chooses to repeat the lie that LKY believed in the rule of law. He believed in no such thing. He believed in HIS rule & HIS law. To this day, the judiciary remains a compliant poodle that dares not go against the government & has made the most outrageous rulings so as not to inconvenience the PAP (ruling party.) Just look up: Cheng San GRC polling day ruling
Consider the following:
1) SG, under his rule, had one of the highest execution rates per capita in the entire world – often for ridiculously small crimes. (See Van Nguyen’s execution – one of the least just executions ever ).
2) To this day, it is still not mandatory to provide domestic workers with a day of leave each week. Nothing short of modern slavery for more than 100,000 poor, migrant labourers who can do practically nothing about it if they have a ruthless, uncaring employer-which many do. SG may have gotten rich but the exploitation of regional workforces has played a massive role in that wealth generation. That mindset has been passed into society which is one of the least caring rich countries on earth towards its migrant poor.
3) The claims of zero corruption are simply laughable. Is nepotism not considered corruption? The reality is that with such iron control of the media, it has been hard to establish who owns and controls what in SG – interestingly as alternative media has grown, so has evidence of corruption. Just consider: LKY’s son is PM, his other son was head of the Singtel and is CEO of Civil Aviation Authority, his daughter-in-law is in charge of the sovereign wealth fund, his relative is President. I could go on but it is absolutely clear that the entire family benefitted enormously from his ruthless control of the government. The gov lost 40% of the vote in the last election & yet still retains 82 out of 89 seats in parliament? Why? The electoral system has been gerrymandered & twisted to the ruling party’s benefit entirely corruptly. No corruption? Absolute rubbish & nonsense.
4) The birth rate. If you want a real indictment of his rule – look to the SG birth rate. SG has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates. People have simply given up having children because this densely populated island is a hot house of constant and almost unbearable pressure on its citizens. He created a school system that deliberately made people of lesser academic talents feel second class and were treated as second class. The result has been a brain drain of creative talents. Like the Mayans before him, his legacy may be to have eradicated his own people in the name of material glory. Some legacy.
5) Intolerance. The local and sympathetic foreign press will use euphemisms for his “knuckle duster” approach to dissent or political control. Ask those who have been imprisoned by him without trial whether they think it was just the knuckle duster? One of the world’s longest serving political prisoners, without trial, was in SG – 32 years – and there are literally countless others. See Operation Coldstore and Operation Spectrum for a hint of his charming, bullying, ruthless style.
6) Gay rights. SG is the only G20 country in the world where it is still illegal to be gay. Gay people are arbitrarily abused for their inherent sexuality and from time to time their sexuality is used against them. For that matter, try and be an independent academic. (See Cherian George – denied tenure simply because he was a mild government critic, despite being one of the foremost journalism professors in the country).
7) Opacity in government. The Singaporeans are forced to save their money in a scheme called the CPF. This is used for healthcare, housing, education and retirement. It remains to be seen, however, whether the way that money is managed is fair, reasonable and corruption free. Whilst it may indeed be all above the board, the government has refused to disclose much information about this giant pool of money and how exactly the money is used, invested etc. There remains a lingering doubt as to whether the money is truly available for citizens or used in their best interest. SG has no freedom of information laws, tightly controls the flow of information out of government and repeatedly refuses to provide data that justifies their actions.
LKY was a utilitarian, Platonic and Machiavellian bully. Praise his economic achievements but never forget those who have suffered, and there are plenty today and in the past who still do so, because of his ruthlessness. Spare a thought for the exiled, the executed, the unfairly punished, the bankrupted, and, above all the S’porens who were left for 30 years in a climate of utter fear. His legacy is far less benign than a sycophantic press will acknowledge.