Are we being pragmatic or recklessly foolish?,
by Dr Chee Soon Juan, 5 August 2012 (youtube)
by Dr Chee Soon Juan, 5 August 2012 (youtube)
Are we being pragmatic or recklessly foolish?
Transcript of Dr Chee's speech at the launch of his book, Democratically Speaking, on 5 August 2012. (source)
I bought a car, the first that I have ever owned, from the junkyard when I was a student at the University of Georgia in Athens and paid all of $50 for it – with the COE thrown in.
Okay, it was nothing to look at. In fact, it was arguably the ugliest looking car in the world, the Americans didn't call it the 'Gremlin' for nothing. But I'll have you know that it could go from zero to fifty in ten – minutes.
All the talk about the genteel hospitality in the American South was true. Folks would cheerfully wave whenever they saw my car pass and I would return the pleasantry.
All except for this one bloke. He drove a bright yellow, flashy sports car. I think it was a Lamborghini. Athens is a small town, and we would often bump into each other and whenever he pulled up alongside me at the traffic lights, he would give me one of those what-on-earth-are-you-driving smiles and would rev his engine just to tell me that he was going to leave me in the dust in the very near future.
When the lights turned green, he did exactly that – splashing mud and debris all over my windshield. Under normal circumstances, I would catch up and give him a piece of my mind but I figured that since he wasn't from the PAP, I'd let it pass. Besides, the windshield wiper wasn't working.
As I was chugging along one morning, I saw a plume of smoke rising in the distance. When I got closer, I saw a bent lamppost and underneath it was a yellow pile of wreck. When I drove up, I saw that it was my Lamborghini friend looking kind of sheepish.
Fortunately, he was all right. But his car – togerther with his ego and presumably his wallet – was a total wreck.
The Golden Period
After I was done with my studies and returned to Singapore, I had this sense of deja-vu. I realised I was seeing the Lamborghini all over again, only this time in its place was Singapore and the stakes were much higher.
It was another vehicle that was flashy and glamorous, oozing with wealth and power and it streaked ahead so fast and so far ahead that it left our neighours in the dust. We were the gleaming financial centre, fabulously rich.
We have been able to achieve the feat and in such a short span of time, we are told, because the Government was unencumbered by a system of checks-and-balance and the messiness of democratic practices.
The corollary, of course, is that the people did not have a say in the way the country was run and the government does as it pleases. The vehicle came without the brakes –the brakes of democracy.
What keeps me awake at night is when we come to a tight corner or, worse, are approaching the edge of a cliff, what do we do? More importantly, does the driver know what he's doing? These questions are made scarier, and ominously more compelling, when you consider what I'm about to tell you. In July 2007, Lee Kuan Yew made his now famous "golden period" speech. he said:
We are into a period of good economic growth and social development...If there are no wars or oil crises, this golden period can stretch out over many years. Investors from developed economies are pouring money into East and South-east Asia...Not only was Singapore doing swimmingly, Lee said that it was he and his ministers who made this possible:
It is because a competent and experienced team of ministers took painful and unpopular measures in the last few years since the Asian financial crisis to get our domestic policies to encourage growth.Now, I want you to remember this second line because I want to remind you of a statement that Princeton economist and Nobel Laureate for Economics Paul Krugman wrote some years back:
When Asian economies delivered nothing but good news…it is easy to assume that so-called planners knew what they were doing. It is easy for government policy makers to look competent in a prosperous economy. But they may not have a clue!So who's right? Lee who says that it was his ministers that ushered the age of unprecedented growth or was it Krugamn who says that ministers didn't have clue. Let's take a closer look.
Barely one year later, let alone many, that Lee said that the golden period would last, our economy came to a crashing halt. In the fourth quarter of 2008, our GDP plunged precipitously, triggering the worst recession in our modern history.
Remember, there were no oil crisis and no war. It was the financial meltdown in the US in 2008. As it turned out, US government gave out close to one trillion dollars in TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) money to the ailing banks and auto industry in America that saved our economy from falling into the abyss.
It seemed that Lee was oblivious to the storm that was breaking. But there were unmistakable signs that all was not well withing the financial world. In August 2006, Yale economics professor Robert Shiller had warned that "there is significant risk of a very bad period...serious trouble in financial markets, and a possible recession sooner than most of us expected.”
In early February 2007, world renowned economist Professor Nouriel Roubini had warned that "the party will soon be over”. He raised the alarm at the World Economic Forum in 2007 that a credit and housing bubble had developed in the US and that would end in "painful consequences for the U.S. and the global economy.”
In May 2007, Warren Buffet again sounded the alarm: "There is an electronic herd of people around the world managing an amazing amount of money...I think it’s a fool’s game."
Note that these warnings came just months before Lee told us that we were entering an economic golden period. He obviously didn't know or, worse, didn't understand what was happening in the financial world. In fact, despite the rumblings, he advised Singaporeans to "maximise our opportunities in this golden period”!
This is exactly what the GIC did. In December 2007, Dr Tony Tan, then a humble executive director of the GIC, injected US$10 billion into the UBS even as the Swiss bank had written off US$33 billion due to bad debts and exposure to the US subprime crisis in the second half of that year. Dr Tan said that the bank has "a worldwide global wealth management business which is something not replicable by any bank."
In 2008, UBS posted a total loss of US$17 billion. Two years later, the bank admitted to helping defraud the US government and was fined US$780 million. Its top executive, Raoul Weil, was declared a fugitive by the US and stepped down from his position at the bank.
It gets worse. In January 2008, GIC had poured into Citigroup nearly US$7 billion. Dr Tan had assessed that Citi was a "sound bank...temporarily facing significant problems. But their franchises are strong”. (emphasis added)
But listen to what Dr Nouriel Roubini said of Citibank:
Over the course of the last 80 years, this bank has repeatedly overextended itself and teetered on the brink of insolvency, only to bounce back thanks to government forbearance, rescues, and bailouts. Any bank that needs that much help does not deserve to exist.Nine months later, the bank announced that it was on the verge of bankruptcy and needed bail-out money from the US government. The bank was staring into the abyss with a potential loss of US$306 billion in toxic assets it had created and bought. If the US government had not stepped in with the TARP money, Citi would have collapsed and our US$7 billion would have been no more.
Not to be outdone by her counterparts at the GIC, Mdm Ho Ching was also throwing good money after bad at American banks.
She paid US$4.4 billion for a 9.4 percent stake in Merrill Lynch in December 2007, even though the bank was already losing money then. Six months later in July 2008, Merrill reported another two quarters of losses and announced that it needed more capital.
By then, the truobles with the banking system in the US had become a full-blown crisis. In March 2008, Bear Stearns, the fifth largest bank in the US collapsed because it couldn't sustain losses from its exposure to the subprime loans.
A few months later, Lehman Brothers also folded. The crisis threatened to go up the chain and eat up off the big banks.
Incredibly, instead of pulling back, Ho Ching upped Temasek’s stake to 14 percent. She said that she believed that Merrill had a "great franchise” and that she had "great confidence” in its chief executive John Thain.
Sure enough, just months later, this "great franchise” went belly-up and had to be taken over by Bank of America. John Thain was forced to step down as CEO because he had not fully disclosed all of Merrill Lynch’s losses.
And just before the bank was bought over, John Thain, in whom Mdm Ho had "great confidence”,authorised payments of salaries, bonuses and dividends to its top executives a total of US$3.6 billion. Before he left, Mr Thain had spent US$1.2 million redecorating his office including the purchase of
- US$87,000 for a rug,
- US$25,000 for a table,
- US$87,000 for guest chairs,
- US$35,000 for a commode
- US$1,400 for a wastebasket
One would think that after all this, wiser heads would prevail and that it would be prudent to take a more cautious approach to problems that plagued the global financial system. But no, we are ramping it up. As recently as 2011, Lee Hsien Loong waded further in:
Competition from emerging financial centres in the region is intensifying...MAS needs to continue leveraging on Singapore’s system-wide capabilities to strengthen our position as an international financial centre.In 2012, the world woke up to the news that JP Morgan Chase had lost an estimated US$4 billion in reckless trading. It was as if 2008 never happened. Worse, Barclays together with the whole cabal including Citi were embroiled in rigging the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) which effectively sets lending rates for all commercial transactions. Eurozone crisis is threatening to pull the entire global financial system down.
This is the heap – corrupt and murky– that Lee Hsien Loong wants Singapore to be on the top of.
What do we do?
My friends, this is an insane position to be in. Our national wealth – all our CPF savings, our tax surpluses – are controlled by two entities, one headed by the prime minister and the other by his wife . And we have absolutely no say it them.
We have no idea how much they control in the first place, we don't know how and where the funds are invested, and we haven't a clue what returns we are making on these investments.
No other people in the democratic world, the sane world, in the pragmatic world would leave themselves open to such an exposed and vulnerable position.
Professor Chris Balding of the Peking University have been trying to match the numbers with the claims that the two national wealth funds put out. But it is like trying to square a circle. The numbers just don't add up. (here)
Professor Balding is not the first one to draw attention to this situation. I've been trying to do this for the last 20 years. In 1984, former deputy prime minister (the late) Toh Chin Chye said of the reserves that "we don't know if we are on thin ice or solid rock.”
One way to resolve this dangerous problem is to change the government at the ballot box. But, hand on heart, is this a viable solution or are we indulging in wishful thinking because the alternative is too inconvenient, requiring too much pain and sacrifice?
With our election system the way that it is, with the PAP pulling all the levers of control – amending the constitution to introduce new laws like the GRC at will, changing boundaries of the constituencies like changing underwear, controlling the mass media – is relying solely on elections to bring about political reform a serious proposition?
The problem is that financial and economic crises don't wait for elections. How many more five-year terms are we going to wait before catastrophe hits and we are unable to extricate ourselves from a political quicksand?
I have said this before and I will say it again: We cannot just depend on elections and elections alone for political change. We need something else. And that something else is freedom of assembly. Listen to what Nobel Laureate for Economics Amartya Sen, hardly a rabble-rouser, said:
Political and civil rights give people the opportunity to draw attention forcefully to the general needs and to demand appropriate public action. The governmental response to acute suffering often depends on the pressure that is put on it and this is where the political rights (voting, criticizing, protesting, and so on) can make a real difference.We must do more than just relying on elections, more than just writing letters to the forum, posting articles on our blogs, voting during elections. These are all important activities but we must do more. We must organise ourselves– the political opposition together with civil society – and push for our freedoms of speech and assembly, our right to peaceful mass protests.Get out there and organise the people. Use the Speakers’ Corner for now. It wasn’t a gift from the PAP, it was a hard-won concession. In time to come, let us expand our protests beyond the confines of Hong Lim Park in numbers large enough that will compel the Government to bend to the will of the people.
It is only when we gather in large enough numbers that the Government will open the books of GIC, Temasek, and HDB for inspection; that it will stop the madness of bringing in more foreigners that this island can take; and that it will hold genuinely free and fair elections.
Power never concedes with a demand
Our Malaysian friends understand this very well. In recent years, they have doggedly challenged their government's ban on public assembly, forcing the BN to take unprecedented steps to open up political space and democratise their country. Recently, Malaysia promised to abolish the ISA, free up the media, and the Malaysian courts have even ruled against the government, declaring Bersih a legal organisation.
They understood what 18th century American slavery abolitionist Frederick Douglass said: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
My friends, we cannot stand up for justice on bended knees.
Some say that we are a pragmatic people, uninterested in human rights and democracy. Whenever I hear this I think to myself: Are we really being pragmatic or are we being foolish and reckless like my Lamborghini friend in Athens?
Even if it is true that Singaporeans don't understand and don't care about democracy, it doesn't matter. What matters is that Singaporeans who do – Singaporeans like you and I – must press ahead with the arduous, but noble, effort to make into reality that idea, that dream, that hope of democracy that has eluded our nation for too long.
Let us not yield and let us not kneel. Instead let us stand up like men and women with all my our transgressions, with all my fears, with all my imperfections, let us stand up and rattle the cage of oppression. Let us defy those who would make us put our minds into cages, our eyes into blinkers and our souls into mortuaries.
Let us take this journey to the place where we will know truth and then truly know what it means to be free, to be honest, to be human.
The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. it is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists.”
― G.K. Chesterton, Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State
Democratically Speaking: Chee Soon Juan promotes nonviolent action in Singapore
by Kirsten Han
Waging nonviolence, Sep 11, 2012 (source)
It’s no picnic being in opposition politics in Singapore. Dr. Chee Soon Juan, Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), probably knows this better than most Singaporeans alive today.
In the 20 years that Chee has been in politics in Singapore, the former psychology professor has been sued, fined, arrested and imprisoned, for offenses that include participating in illegal assemblies and speaking in public without a permit. He was declared bankrupt in 2006 after being ordered to pay damages of S$200,000 (approx. US$160,443) to Lee Kuan Yew and S$300,000 to Goh Chok Tong, both former prime ministers, who had brought defamation suits against him. Since Chee was declared bankrupt, he is barred from standing for elections and not allowed to leave the country without approval from the Official Assignee. Chee was thus refused permission to leave the country in May to attend the Oslo Freedom Forum. Instead, he sent a pre-recorded speech.
There is no love lost between Chee and the former leaders of the ruling party. In an interview with Asiaweek, former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said Chee:
has tremendous character flaws. And I think they will be exposed again to the public. You know, we look at the opposition from two angles. One is the ideas of the opposition member. The other is the character of the opposing party. If the ideas would not do great harm to Singapore, if they challenge ours, then there’s a place for the people who express them. But even though people may have fairly sound ideas, if their character is wrong — in particular, if their integrity is suspect, then we would try and annihilate that person.In early August, Chee announced the launch of his latest book, Democratically Speaking, and that proceeds from the sales would go towards discharging himself from bankruptcy. Although he owes Lee and Goh a combined amount of S$500,000, he aims to raise about S$30,000 from book sales and hopes that the two will accept the amount as a sufficient settlement. The book was launched on August 5 to a packed room at the Substation, Singapore’s first independent contemporary arts center.
In Democratically Speaking, Chee asserts that Singapore’s financial strategy has been built on the same shaky practices and principles that got Wall Street into the trouble it is in today. He highlights the city-state’s reputation as a tax haven, generating wealth by attracting the rich with its low tax rates and secrecy provisions in the Banking Act. He questions the large amounts of money Singapore’s government-linked corporations – GIC and Temasek Holdings (TH) – have poured into UBS, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Barclays, when there were signs that the banks were in trouble.
“Analysts estimated that losses incurred by the two wealth funds at about $100 billion (approx. USD 79.8 billion) – a conservative estimate to be sure,” he writes. “TH itself admitted to losing $58 billion (approx. USD 46.3 billion) just between March and November in 2008. The GIC is thought to have lost at least that much.”
But while Occupy Wall Street — and similar actions across the world — have brought people together to demand change, there has been very little of such action in Singapore. There is no credible Occupy Singapore movement, only a Facebook page which sprouted up in 2011 urging people to gather in Singapore’s Central Business District. However, the day saw Raffles Place occupied only by journalists (hoping something would happen) and random shoppers. As mentioned in a previous article, there has not been much of a protest culture in Singapore for quite some time.
It is precisely this fear of protesting or demonstrating peacefully for our rights that Chee hopes to dispel. Arguably Singapore’s most well-known political activist today, he has participated in (or organized) a number of peaceful assemblies over his 20-year political career, and has paid the price. He has been held up as an example for Singaporeans not to follow, but has refused to back down.
Nonviolent action, he argues in his book, is not only useful, but necessary. Without exercising their civil and political rights, Singaporeans will be powerless to stop any mistakes the government may be making, like the complete lack of input by ordinary citizens on the decisions made to pour billions of dollars into large, troubled banks in 2008.
“The truth is that the government can be made to change its ways. Nonviolent action, if carried out in an astute and disciplined manner, works,” he writes. He then goes on to say, “If we don’t become the deliverers of change, then change will not come. This is because power never concedes without demand.”
[Continue reading here]
The Singapore Democratic Party is Concerned About Temasek and GIC
by Christopher Balding
August 20, 2012 (source)
*Christopher Balding is a professor of business and economics at the HSBC Business School at the Peking University Graduate School. An expert in sovereign wealth funds, his writings have been published in such leading journals as the Review of International Economics, the Journal of Public Economic Theory, and the International Finance Review on such diverse topics as CDS pricing, the WTO, and the economics of adoption and abortion. His work has also been cited by a variety of media outlets including the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.
As more people study the returns of Temasek and GIC, more and more people are coming to the conclusion that the numbers simply do not add up.
Dr. Chee Soon Juan at the book launch of his new book entitled Democratically Speaking, discusses the problems associated with having the wife of the prime minster run the sovereign wealth fund with such little accountability or transparency.
Though I take no official position on the Singapore Democratic Party or any other political party in Singapore, I would encourage you to think about purchasing a copy of the book. Proceeds from the book will be used to help Dr. Chee attempt to discharge his bankruptcy debt related to politically motivated defamation charges.
I want to emphasize that I am not taking a position on the SDP or Dr. Chee but that the freedom of speech, freedom to organize, and gather are fundamental human rights. I support these rights and Dr. Chee’s right to take part in the political process and demand accountability of the leaders of Singapore.
Dr Chee at launch of "Democratically Speaking": Untie my Hands
Singapore Democrats, August 6, 2012 (source)
|Dr Chee Soon Juan launching "Democratically Speaking" (source)|
Dr Chee Soon Juan called on former prime ministers Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong to accept his offer of $30,000 as settlement of his bankruptcy so that he can be discharged from bankruptcy and stand for the next general elections.
"Untie my hands and let's have a fair fight," Dr Chee told the audience as he addressed a question from a member of the audience at the launching of his new book Democratically Speaking yesterday at The Substation.
"Thirty thousand dollars is a huge amount to me, but Mr Lee and Mr Goh are rich and they don't need the money. I urge them to accept my offer and we can compete on who has the better ideas for Singapore going forward."
During his presentation Dr Chee pointed out the "zombie investments" that the GIC and Temasek Holdings made during the financial crisis in the US in 2008.
Despite the financial turmoil, both funds poured in tens of billions of Singaporeans' money and lost much of it in the process. He pointed out that those in charge of our investments did not know what they were doing.
He warned Singaporeans that this was an "insane position" to be in, that is, having all our wealth tied up in the two wealth funds but with no say in either one of them.
He warned that Singaporeans were being reckless by continuing to allow the Government to handle our national reserves in the manner that they do - without transparency.
"We are looking for trouble and the danger is that we will find it," he said.
Dr Vincent Wijeysingha moderated the Q&A following the presentation. He urged the audience to get a copy of the book because of its contents and because the proceeds go towards the funds to help Dr Chee clear his bankruptcy.
Following the session, Dr Chee signed the books that attendees purchased.
Democratically Speaking is available in hardcover special edition ($50) and paperback ($30) and can be purchased online here.
It is also available at: Kinokuniya Bookstore (Ngee Ann City, Liang Court, Bugis Junction) and Select Books (Armenian Street near SMU).
|Dr Chee Soon Juan selling his books at Raffles Place (source)|
Dr Chee Soon Juan: They have the power, we have the people
Singapore Democrats, 12 Sep 2012 (source)
Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong may have wielded much power when they they held office. They probably still do. The power they possess is formal power backed by force when necessary. They also have the mass media on their side.
But we, the Singapore Democrats, have something infinitely more powerful. We have you, the people.
And because we have this power - a power that if wielded not with cunning but compassion, not with deceit but democratic deliberation - we are a force for good, a force that is unstoppable.
This force can be demonstrated with my trying to raise $30,000 to pay Mr Lee and Mr Goh. If Singaporeans pitch in and everyone does a small part, I can quickly pay off my creditors and this will show how intensely Singaporeans want to develop a democratic party that can overcome an authoritarian one.
I'll be in various parts of Singapore selling my book Democratically Speaking over the next several days (I'll announce the location and time on my Facebook) and I hope that you will come and support the cause.
Tell your family and friends what I am doing and come down to get a copy of my book. Or make a donation (see below for information on how to donate).
The faster I raise the funds, the faster I can pay Mr Lee and Mr Goh, and the faster I can get back to work to help the SDP prepare for the next general elections.
Never in the history of Singapore has an opposition party attracted so many professionals and intellectuals dedicated to crafting an alternative programme and vision for the people: We are currently finalising our housing policy where we will propose ways on how to lower HDB prices.
We have developed a healthcare plan that makes our healthcare system universal, affordable and sustainable.
We have shown how we can more astutely allocate our national expenditure to produce sustainable economic growth in our Shadow Budgets.
We are in the midst of studying and drawing up policy positions on education and the economy, and we will start work soon on problems our Malay community faces and issues our arts sector is confronted with.
We are working hard to get better in what we do so that Singaporeans, come GE 2016, can have a real choice of who they want to govern Singapore and take the country forward.
I want to focus all my attention and energy into doing this important work, and the sooner I pay my creditors, the sooner I can get back to doing it. My fellow Singaporeans, you can help. Buy a copy of Democratically Speaking or make a donation.
You have the power. Use it.
Chee Soon Juan
Fund raising progress of the $30,000 Discharge CSJ Fund: here
|Dr Chee Soon Juan was sued for defamation by Mr Lee Kuan Yew, then Senior Minister, and Mr Goh Chok Tong, then Prime Minister, over remarks he made about Singapore's loan to Indonesia under Suharto in 1997. This took place during general elections in 2001. |
As no Singaporean lawyer would represent him, Dr Chee applied for Mr Stuart Littlemore, an Australian Queen's Counsel (QC), to act for him. The High Court rejected the application, citing that Mr Littlemore had on a previous matter involving the late J B Jeyaretnam criticised the Singaporean Judiciary.
Dr Chee then applied for two other QCs, Mr Henric Nicholas and Mr Martin Lee, to be admitted to Singapore on an ad hoc basis to argue the case for him. The courts again rejected the application saying that the case was not complex enough to warrant the admission of the QCs.
Dr Chee protested that if the matter was not complex enough, why did Mr Lee and Mr Goh engage a Senior Counsel, Singapore's equivalent of a QC (Mr Davinder Singh) to represent them.
The plaintiffs then applied for summary judgment. Assistant Registrar Toh Han Li heard the matter in chambers. Dr Chee attended the hearing unrepresented. The case was awarded to the plaintiffs.
At a subsequent hearing to assess damages, High Court Judge Chiu Kan Ting awarded Mr Lee $200,000 and Mr Goh $300,000 in damages.
In February 2006, the plaintiffs took out a bankruptcy order against Dr Chee who, unable to pay the amount, was declared bankrupt.
As a bankrupt, Dr Chee has to submit regular statements of his income and expenditure. Because he was unable to make payments to Mr Lee and Mr Goh, Dr Chee was barred from traveling overseas. He has made more than 20 applications to attend conferences overseas but every one of them was rejected even though the organisers of these conferences have undertaken to pay for all of Dr Chee's expenses for the trips.
In March 2006, Dr Chee made an application to travel to Istanbul, Turkey to attend the general assembly of the World Movement for Democracy. Even though he was in communication with the Official Assignee's (OA) office, the OA did not let him know whether the travel application was approved or not.
Dr Chee was subsequently stopped from leaving the country when he went to the airport and turned back. His passport was impounded and he was charged with attempting to leave the country without permission. He was fined and served a jail sentence in default.
As a bankrupt, Dr Chee is also not eligible to stand for elections. He was barred for running for office in the 2006 and 2011 elections.He was even disallowed to speak at the election rallies even though he is Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party. In the 2006 elections, police officers prevented Dr Chee from getting on stage when he arrived at the rally site.
Target of $30,000 reached in record time
Singapore Democrats, Sep 24, 2012 (source)
The Discharge CSJ Fund has announced that it has managed to raise the $30,000 to clear Dr Chee Soon Juan's bankruptcy. Not only has the target been reached but it was achieved in record time - 10 days!
The campaign started in earnest on 11 September 2012 when it was announced that Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong would accept the $30,000 Dr Chee had offered to annul his bankruptcy order.
The Discharge CSJ Fund website was set up to sell Dr Chee's latest book Democratically Speaking to raise the money and to appeal for donations. The campaign took off and in a week-and-a-half raised the required amount.
The outcome signals the intense desire of Singaporeans wanting to see the democratic movement in Singapore accelerate and they want to help clear Dr Chee's bankruptcy.
"I want to thank everyone who chipped in. It was a stunning success and it was the effort of the people who showed that they wanted to write the story of Singapore's Democracy," said Dr Chee.
Just a few weeks ago, Singaporeans would have laughed it off if they were told that Dr Chee would be able to get out of his bankruptcy and stand for the elections in 2016.
But with the changed mood and communication through social media, politics in Singapore has undergone a transformation. The breathtaking speed at which the funds were raised is a manifestation of this change.
Dr Chee has been hitting the streets and selling his book to raise the funds and he credits Singaporeans for the turnaround.
"This campaign is not about me, it has never been," the SDP secretary-General said. "It is about the people of Singapore and their desire for a democratic voice. To this end, I look forward to leading the SDP in the next elections and bring the people's voices into parliament."
Now that Singaporeans have tasted that their efforts can change the course of politics in this country, they are encouraged and they want to do more. This development is another demonstration of a people awakened. And they will not be denied.
Dr Chee will make the necessary arrangements to remit the money to the Official Assignee this week. Mr Lee and Mr Goh will upon receiving the money take a formal vote to accept the amount whereupon the OA will then annul the bankruptcy order.
Chee Soon Juan remits $30K to Official Assignee
Singapore Democrats, Sep 27, 2012 (source)
Dr Chee Soon Juan went to the Insolvent Persons and Trustees Office (IPTO) today (Sep 27, 2012) to remit the $30,000 to settle his case with Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong. He was accompanied by SDP members and supporters.
The amount was raised in less than two weeks through the sales of his books as well as donations.
The IPTO officials said that upon receiving the money, it will forward the funds to Mr Lee and Mr Goh, and the two former prime ministers will take a formal vote to agree to annul the bankruptcy order.
According to Ms Lydia Loh from the IPTO, the Official Assignee will then take the decision to officially annul the bankruptcy order. The entire process will take one to two months.
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