PAP Government and Scholars

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This post is presented in 6 sections:

INTRO: Excerpts on Singapore scholarships
PART 1: Ministers’ Children and/or Government Relatives (Scholars)
PART 2: Scholar Scandals
PART 3: Foreign-Born Scholars in Government or Civil Service
PART 4: Reader Tip on Foreign-Born Scholars
PART 5: Additional Info

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INTRO: EXCERPTS on SINGAPORE SCHOLARSHIPS

1) “Singapore’s science and technology agency A*Star [draws] on taxpayers’ money to offer scholarships. . .”

Source: WSJ

2) A government economic review panel recommended a target of 150,000 foreign-born students by 2012 — more than double the 2005 figure of 66,000.

Source: Rapid Growth in Singapore’s Immigrant Population (2012)

3) The typical profile of our scholars has changed. The vast majority of scholars come from very wealthy family backgrounds. . .for the rich, the prestigious scholarship is more like a trophy.”

Source: Mr Wang

4) In 2008, the PSC revealed that 47% of the PSC scholarship recipients that year lived in HDB flats, and 53% lived in private housing. This is an over representation of private housing as up to 85% of Singaporeans live in HDB flats.

Source: NCMP Yee Jenn Jong

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5) In Barr and Skrbis’ book Constructing Singapore, they systemically outline the elite selection and formation process in Singapore. As Singaporeans move up the education system into secondary schools and junior colleges, the ‘scholars’ are continuously sorted from the ‘commoners’ and the would-be future elite are herded together into a small number of elite institutions. The best are offered the coveted Public Service Commission Scholarships, Singapore Armed Forces Scholarships and those at the top of the pyramid of public service would then be absorbed into the elite Administrative Service and made mandarins.

Ho Khai Leong [concedes] that the pervasive extent of state socialization has nurtured a cookie-cutter generation of leaders with relatively similar political outlook cut out from the same mould.

Source: Examining Meritocracy & Elitism in Singapore (Soh Yi Da; 2013)

6) Concerns have been raised among parliamentarians and members of the public that foreign students may be depriving Singaporeans of university places, and that taxpayers have to subsidize their fees.

Source: Asian Universities: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Challenges (2004)

7) “EACH YEAR ABOUT $360 MILLION IS SPENT ON FOREIGN STUDENTS. . .the PSC spends about $400,000 to send each scholarship recipient overseas.”

Source: Act for Singapore + AsiaOne

8) This is absurd. Government scholarships are funded by taxpayers’ money and should be channeled where it is needed most.

Source: Hsien-Hui Tong (2014)

9) These “foreign talent” students [are] “hand-picked” by the officials of Singapore’s Ministry of Education after being put through written tests and interviews.

Source: Privilege, Prejudice, Predicament: “PRC Scholars” in Singapore (Yang P., 2014)

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Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean pinning the rank epaulette on his son Eng Siang’s uniform. Source: ST

10) Surely, as top-dollar ministers, these fathers should be going to their colleagues to say:

“Hey! Thank you for thinking so highly of my son. But I cannot accept this. Could we give it back so that we can give it to another candidate whose parents cannot afford to pay?”

An officer and gentleman would, in my view, say that.

Source: A Singaporean Says (re: ministers’ children getting government scholarships)

11) The PSC is vested with the disciplinary control of civil servants.

In 2012, 71 new disciplinary cases were reported to the PSC. Together with the 46 cases that were brought forward from the previous years, the PSC processed a total of 117 cases in the year.

The three main types of misconduct for cases completed in 2012 under the Regulations were Immoral Behaviour, Indebtedness and Theft/Robbery.

Source: PSC Annual Report (2012)

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PART 1: MINISTERS’ CHILDREN and/or GOV. RELATIVES

1. LEE HSIEN LOONG + Family Members = Scholars

Lee Hsien Loong was awarded the president’s scholarship in 1970 and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAFOS) scholarship in 1971. His brother Lee Hsien Yang, and his sister Lee Wei Ling were also President’s Scholars. His son, Li Hongyi, is a PSC Scholar.

His father, Lee Kuan Yew, was awarded an Anderson Scholarship to Raffles College, while his mother, Kwa Geok Choo, was a Queen’s Scholar. His wife, Ho Ching, was a President’s Scholar.

2. MAH BOW TAN + Son = Scholars

Mah Bow Tan was a former Colombo Plan Scholar and President’s Scholar.

According to John Harding’s website, Mah Bow Tan is the father of Warren Mah (who received an MAS scholarship to study overseas; funded by Singapore taxpayers).

A concerned netizen says:

Over his 19 years as Cabinet Minister, Singaporeans (and NOT the PAP) have paid $2m Minister Mah Bow Tan an estimated handsomely-humongous S$33 million in total salary/bonuses.

Despite above, he did not send his son Warren Mah to university on “Father’s Scholarship” (i.e. out of his own pocket) but managed to land him a Govt Scholarship (from Monetary Authority of Singapore) to study at the prestigious University of Pennslyvania in USA. The MAS scholarship is worth some S$300,000 — which again, by PAP standards, is merely “half a peanut.”

3. TONY TAN + Son = Scholars

Tony Tan was a recipient of the Singapore Government State Scholarship in 1959. Tony Tan has 3 sons: Patrick, Philip, and Peter.

Patrick Tan Boon Ooi is an Associate Director at A*Star’s Genome Institute. He was a recipient of the president’s scholarship and the Loke Cheng Kim scholarship in 1987. The Loke Cheng Kim scholarship is an overseas bond-free scholarship offered by a non-profit organisation.

4. TEO CHEE HEAN + Son = Scholars

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Teo Chee Hean is the father of Teo Eng Siang. Teo Eng Siang received a PSC Overseas Merit Scholarship in 2005 to study International Relations and Philosophy at Brown University (scholarship funded by Singapore taxpayers). Brown University’s tuition fee for 2015-2016 is US$48,272 per annum.

A netizen says:

Shameless Teo Chee Hean. He is a million dollar minister and his son gets a free scholarship fully paid for by Singaporeans. This is disgusting.”
— Alex Tan, 2012

5. PHILIP YEO + Son = Scholars

Gene Yeo is the son of former A*Star’s Chairman Philip Yeo. Philip Yeo was the sole recipient of a Fulbright scholarship in 1974.

Funded by the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew Graduate Fellowship from Singapore, Gene Yeo earned a Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In 2007, A*Star wanted to sue a graduate student blogger for implying that the agency was corrupt.

The 25 year-old blogger alleged that A*Star “bribed universities to enrol its scholars, paid professors to accept scholars into their labs and suggested that its scholars enrol in universities with which it had ‘connections’ rather than the more expensive, top-notch ones.”

Source: Straits Times

6. DR. ALINE WONG’s Son = Scholar

Prof. Wong Tien Yin, a former President’s Scholar, is the son of former senior minister of state, Dr. Aline Wong.

7. GRACE FU’s Son = Scholar

Minister Grace Fu Hai Yien is the mother of Marcus Lee Jian Ying, an SAF Overseas Scholar.

8. BROTHERS of NG CHEE MENG = President’s Scholars

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Ng Brothers | Image by Roy Ngerng

Ng Chee Meng, former Chief of Defence Force and PAP Candidate (2015), has two brothers: Ng Chee Peng (former Chief of Navy) and Ng Chee Khern (former Chief of Army). Ng Chee Peng and Ng Chee Khern were President’s Scholars.

9. TAY ENG SOON’s Daughter = Scholar

Late senior minister of state for education Tay Eng Soon is the father of Lucy Tay. Lucy Tay is a President’s Scholar. A 2007 article mentioned she was with MOE’s personnel department where she helped recruit teachers.

10. BROTHERS Teo Shiyi + Teo Tse Hsiang = President’s Scholars

Teo Shiyi was one of the four President’s Scholars in 2002. His elder brother Tse Hsiang was awarded the prestigious award in 1998. His mother, Teo Po Chu, was a director with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

11. KO KHENG HWA + Daughter = President’s Scholars

Ko Kheng Hwa is a former President’s Scholar and former Director at Singapore Economic Development Board. His daughter, Stephanie Ko Qian Wen, received the president’s scholarship in 2007.

The Public Service Commission, which awards the scholarship, said Stephanie — from Hwa Chong Institution — is the first recipient to have a President’s Scholar as a parent.

13. SERGIUS WAT ZHIWEN + Brother = Scholars

Sergius Wat is a President’s Scholar and Singapore Police Force scholar. His older brother is a Singapore Armed Forces scholar.

12. SIM ANN + SIBLINGS = Scholars

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Article on Sim Ann’s “brainy” scholar family. Source: ST, 22 July 1998

According to a forum post, Sim Ann’s sister, Sim Min, was awarded a Monetary Authority of Singapore scholarship, while her brother Sim Kai was a President’s Scholar.

The above image from ST and Hwa Chong Institution’s President’s Scholars page lists Sim Ann and Sim Kai as recipients.

PM Lee Hsien Loong has known Sim Ann’s mother for 30 years.

A forum post has some details on Sim Ann’s grandfather being executed in the People’s Republic of China for treason. Will update this section if there’s more info on this in future.

The archive is still available in the China national archive.

Now Sim Ann, his granddaughter, is selling out Singaporeans — it should not be a surprise as it seems treason runs in their family blood line.

Sim Ann’s sister is Sim Min, 34, who was awarded a Monetary Authority of Singapore scholarship. Her brother Sim Kai, 31, is also a President’s Scholar.

Daughter of executed Prisoner PRC ID number (XD4429372J) – Choo Lian Liang
Father – Sim Hock Kee

This is a family of nation betrayers.

Source: Helium

Former Minister of State for Education, Sim Ann, has avoided national issues, the problem of foreign scholarships, and the low intake of local graduates in Singapore universities.

14. WALTER WOON’s Twin Sons = Scholars

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Walter Woon and sons. Source: NUS

Alexander Joseph Woon Wei-Ming, the younger twin by 10 minutes, is a President’s Scholar. His fraternal twin brother Adrian Gerard Woon Wei-Xin is a PSC scholar. Their father is former Attorney-General Walter Woon, and their mother, Mrs Janis Woon, is a deputy registrar with the Family Court.

15. HENG SWEE KEAT + Wife = Scholars

Heng Swee Keat was a Singapore Police Force overseas scholar. His wife, Chang Hwee Nee, was a President’s Scholar. Chang is Deputy Secretary (Planning) at the Ministry of National Development.

16. DESMOND CHOO = Scholar

Desmond Choo, PAP Candidate for Tampines GRC (2015), was awarded the SPF Overseas Merit Scholarship in 1997 to study Economics at the University of Chicago.

His uncle is Choo Wee Khaing, a former MP who was charged with 3 counts of corruption in 2011.

17. YONG PUNG HOW’s Daughter = Scholar

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Newly installed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (L) takes his oath of office before Chief Justice Yong Pung How (R) and witnessed by Singaporean President S.R Nathan (C) at the Istana presidential palace in Singapore, 12 August 2004. AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN

Yong Ying-I is the daughter of former Chief Justice Yong Pung How, a close friend of LKY.

Yong Ying-I was an Overseas Merit Scholar.

18. LEE YOCK SUAN + Son = Scholars

Lee Yock Suan served in the PAP Cabinet from 1987 to 2004, and was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1980 to 2006. He was a President’s Scholar.

His son, Desmond Lee Ti-Seng, was elected to Parliament in 2011 as a PAP MP for the Jurong Group Representation Constituency and was made a Minister of State in 2013. Desmond was a Legal Service Commission Scholarship recipient.

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PART 2: SCHOLAR SCANDALS

1. JONATHAN WONG WAI KEONG

Former Ministry of Education (MOE) scholar Jonathan Wong Wai Keong was sentenced to five years’ jail in 2012.

Wong was convicted for possession of child pornography in Britain in 2010.

Despite being caught in England for possessing child pornography, local media reported that Jonathan Wong taught in a secondary school after he returned to Singapore.

2. NG BOON GAY

Former Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) director Ng Boon Gay was charged in 2012 with four counts of sex-related corruption.

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Cecilia Sue and Ng Boon Gay, 2013.

Ng was accused of corruptly obtaining sexual gratification from a female IT executive, Cecilia Sue Siew Nang, by assisting to further the business interests of her then employers Oracle Corporation Singapore and Hitachi Data Systems in dealings with CNB.

Ng recounted that there were at least 20-30 times he and Cecelia Sue were sexually intimate during their three-year relationship.

Ng was a PSC scholarship and Singapore Police Force Postgraduate Scholarship recipient.

A netizen comments:

The most worrying part to me [with Ng Boon Gay being acquitted in 2014] is that Shanmugam is setting a precedent now, by saying that even though there is plainly a conflict of interest, there is no corruption. 

Source: Sam’s Alfresco

3. ALVIN TAN

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Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee.

Alvin Tan was an Asean scholar and had been on “leave of absence” from his classes for almost a year when he started uploading pornographic pictures and videos of himself and his girlfriend Vivian Lee on a blog titled “Sumptuous Erotica.”

An estimate shows that it may have cost the Singapore go­­­vernment — the benefactor of the Asean scholarship programme — at least RM275,000 (S$110,000) to fund all of Tan’s seven years of study in the city state.

The highly prestigious scholarship is awarded to only 170 undergraduates from nine Asean countries annually. It covers tuition fees, accommodation and also provides an allowance for the recipients.

Source: AsiaOne

4. CHUA REN CHENG

Teacher and former grassroots leader Chua Ren Cheng was a Head of Department in charge of selecting MOE scholars at the Ministry of Education. He is a former MOE scholar.

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Chua Ren Cheng leaving the court, 2012. Source: AsiaOne

In 2012, he “confessed he was a sinner” and was charged for having commercial sex with an underage prostitute.

5. WEE SHU MIN

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“Get out of my elite uncaring face.” — Wee Shu Min, 2006

Wee Shu Min, a daughter of MP Wee Siew Kim, is notorious for deriding a Singaporean blogger for his views on the anxieties of Singapore workers. Miss Wee was on RJC’s Humanities Scholarship Programme.

In dismissing the blogger’s views in 2006, she wrote:

“Derek, Derek, Derek darling, how can you expect to have an iron rice bowl or a solid future if you cannot spell?

“There’s no point in lambasting the Government for making our society one that is, I quote, ‘far too survival of the fittest. . .’ If uncertainty of success offends you so much, you will certainly be poor and miserable.”

[She concluded by telling the blogger] to “get out of my elite uncaring face.”

6. ENG KAI ER

Eng Kai Er is an A*Star scientist who took up two scholarships.

She was fined $2,000 for walking naked through Holland Village with Swedish exchange student Jan Philip.

In 2014, she criticised her scholarship’s bond in a blog post and set up a “No Star Arts Grant” in protest, pledging to give $1,000 a month from her salary to support arts projects for a year.

7. OUYANG XIANGYU

Ouyang Xiangyu is originally from China. She was expected to complete her A*Star National Science Scholarship PhD studies by 2018 and return to Singapore to complete her bond.

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Ouyang Xiangyu, who was listed as a scholar studying at California’s Stanford University. Image: Examiner

In 2015, she was arrested and charged with poisoning her research classmates at Stanford University with a potent chemical that causes burning sensations in the mouth and throat.

8. EISEN TEO

In 2014, former Straits Times journalist and SPH scholar Eisen Teo was sentenced to 1.5 years in jail for two charges of having sex and oral sex with an underage girl.

According to the Statement of Facts, presented in court by Deputy Public Prosecutor Amanda Chong, Teo first took special interest in the teenage girl when he learned from reading her blog that she was “clinically depressed, suffering from insomnia and was being bullied in school.”

Comments by netizens:

1) Why did the judge give [Eisen Teo] such a light sentence?? He is a scholar, shame on him to prey on young girls. He planned his move, told lies, to take advantage of her. A scholar with low morals and integrity. Hope the girl is on the road to recovery. I hope his wife divorces him. Fancy his wife baking in the kitchen and he is so bold to have sex with another girl in the room.
(– Mavis Teo)

2) Most scholars produced in the Singapore system are like this: narcissistic and incapable of human understanding.
(– nimal)

Source: Yahoo

9. ONG TECK CHIN

Ong Teck Chin is a Rhodes scholar and former ACS(I) principal. He resigned after an investigating panel stated he had “behaved inappropriately towards a male teacher.”

ACS’s stated aim is to have every student be ‘A Scholar, an Officer and a Gentleman.’

Apparently a biology teacher in his 30’s contacted The Straits Times and alleged the principal had “behaved inappropriately” towards him. 

Ong had reduced his teaching duties and created a new position as his de facto personal aide, jetting off together on overseas trips to recruit foreign scholars. Yes, the foreigners competing with your ward for a place in the school are proactively sought and groomed by the principal. With the blessings of MOE. Paid out of your income taxes.

Source: Singapore Desk

10. LIM HWEE HUA

Lim Hwee Hua, a PSC Overseas Merit Scholarship holder, was Singapore’s first female Minister and Second Minister for Finance and Transport in 2009.

Before she was sworn in as a Cabinet Minister, Lim was Temasek Holdings’ managing director of strategic relations. She quit politics in 2011.

From John Harding’s website [John Harding was the former Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Singapore’s Inland Revenue Department (IRAS)]:

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Lim Hwee Hwa: Former Minister and current director at Tembusu Partners.

Here is the BIG CONNECTION with the Singapore Government that is making it all happen. Andy Lim’s wife is Lim Hwee Hua (former minister). Lim Hwee Hua was making nearly four times as much as President Obama, but this is not enough for the crooked lady. She has set up her husband, Andy, to run a scam investment company, where, as an investor, you can get residence in Singapore.

Source: YeoCheowTong.com

11. ENG HENG CHIAW

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Ex-SAF scholar gets jail for $500,000 bribe offer. Source: Straits Times, 16 April 2005

Eng Heng Chiaw was a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) scholar.

Eng was accused of making a S$500,000 bribe offer to an executive of Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency, Sin Boon Wah, in exchange for information on tender bids in a defence ministry contract for the naval helicopters.

He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 56 days imprisonment on 15 Apr 2005.

12. SUN XU

Sun Xu was an NUS PRC scholar. Each NUS undergraduate scholarship, which covers school fees and accommodation, is worth between $18,000 and $25,000 annually.

Sun was fined $3,000 for making “improper, insensitive and disrespectful” remarks.

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“More dogs than humans in Singapore.” — Sun Xu | Image from Stomp SG

He had written: “The most annoying thing in Singapore are those ‘uncles’ who stare at you, or complain endlessly when you accidentally brush past them. . .[there are] more dogs than humans in Singapore.”

Source: AsiaOne

13. CHAN WEI KIAT

Chan Wei Kiat was a captain with the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and an RSN scholar.

In 2012, he was sentenced to 11 weeks’ jail for having paid sex with an underage prostitute.

14. PETER LIM

Peter Lim was the Commissioner of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and a former Public Service Commission overseas scholarship recipient.

In 2013, Lim was convicted for corruptly obtaining sexual gratification from a female employee of Nimrod in exchange for furthering the company’s business interests with the SCDF.

The judge noted that as the highest-ranked officer of SCDF, Lim was expected to lead by example and “displayed unimpeachable conduct,” adding that his actions brought “embarrassment to the public service” and loss of reputation to the SCDF.

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PART 3: FOREIGN-BORN SCHOLARS in Government or Civil Service

1. KHAW BOON WAN

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Khaw Boon Wan, a Colombo Plan Scholar (Batch 1973), addressing fellow alumni at Jurong Country Club. Source: FB

MP and PAP Chairman Khaw Boon Wan was born on 8 December 1952 in Penang, Malaysia. He studied in the University of Newcastle, Australia under the Singapore Government Colombo Plan Scholarship.

In 2002, Khaw Boon Wan was said to live by the principle of a Chinese Buddhist saying:

“Be always mindful of those who have brought you benefits, and remember to reciprocrate.”

It seems that netizens think otherwise of Mr. Khaw.

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Google Screenshot: Khaw Boon Wan described by netizens as a “fake Buddhist.”

2. TAN ZHONGSHAN

Ipoh-born Tan Zhongshan was awarded an Asean scholarship by Singapore’s Ministry of Education after completing his A-Levels at Temasek Junior College. After his studies at Cambridge University, he returned to Singapore to join its Legal Service commission.

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State Counsel / DPP: TAN Zhongshan

As of Aug 2015, Tan Zhongshan is a State Counsel / DPP in the Financial and Technology Crime Division of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

The Singapore Legal Service is the collective body of lawyers (Legal Service Officers) who serve in the courts, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, and the legal departments of various government ministries and statutory boards in Singapore. It controls the appointment, dismissal, and disciplinary action of members of the Service.

3. LIU CHEN

Former RJC student Liu Chen moved to Singapore from Shandong, China, in 1997 with her mother and father. She became a Singapore citizen in 2005 and received a President’s Scholarship to study economics at the University of Chicago.

At the time of this posting, Liu Chen is Head of the Sectoral Manpower Unit, Manpower Policy and Planning Division at the Ministry of Manpower (LinkedIn and Gov.sg).

4. MAUNG THET NAING WIN

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Maung Thet Naing Win (centre), receiving the SAF Overseas Scholarship at a ceremony. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Myanmar-born Maung Thet Naing Win was the recipient of the prestigious SAF Overseas Scholarship (Safos) in 2013. He became a new citizen in 2008.

The scholarship is given to only a handful of top students each year. Notable past recipients include Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, DPM and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean, and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew.

SAFOS scholars are groomed for the highest levels of command and management in the SAF and beyond.

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PART 4: READER TIP on FOREIGN SCHOLARS

If you go to the A*Star web site, plenty of the scholars are foreign-born — India, China, Vietnam, Malaysia.

This is a small selection of foreign-born scholars.

1) Dr. Wei Fengxia (born in Shandong, China / A*Star scholar)

2) Neil Huynh Hoai Nguyen (born in Vietnam / A*Star scholar)

3) Ng Jie Qi (born in Selangor, Malaysia / MOE scholar)

4) Vijay Raj Singh (born in India / NTU scholar)

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Xiao Yifei graduation, 15 August 2015. Source: FB

5) Xiao Yifei (born in China / President’s scholar and RJC alumnus; was holding dual citizenship when she got her scholarship)

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PART 5: ADDITIONAL INFO

These individuals are not scholars — interesting info nonetheless.

1. DANNY SOO EE HOCK

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Danny Lim, 2010. Source: ST

Danny Soo Ee Hock was a former grassroots leader who took upskirt photos of women. He was stripped of a National Day medal given to him in 2010.

MrBrown says:

The odd thing was that Danny Soo was arrested in July 2009 and awarded the PBM in 2010. Guess no one informed the award committee.

Source: MrBrown / CNN

2. CHRISTOPHER LIM CHAI MENG and KOH SEAH WEE

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Ex-director allegedly cheated SLA of $11.8m to buy Lamborghini. Source: Stomp Courtroom

Christopher Lim Chai Meng and his superior Koh Seah Wee (a deputy director at the Singapore Land Authority) were convicted in 2010 for their roles in cheating Singapore government agencies of S$12.5 million.

Lim pleaded guilty to 49 counts including money laundering. They allegedly used the money to buy apartments and cars including a S$1.6 million limited-edition Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SV and a Ferrari F430.

Offshore Banking / Money Laundering

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* Thanks to a reader for submitting this blog post topic.

1. WHAT IS MONEY LAUNDERING and HOW DOES IT WORK?

According to Investopedia:

[An offshore bank is] located or based outside of one’s national boundaries. A company may legitimately move offshore for the purpose of tax avoidance or to enjoy relaxed regulations. Offshore financial institutions can also be used for illicit purposes such as money laundering and tax evasion.

According to legal-dictionary, money laundering “allows criminals to transform illegally obtained gain into seemingly legitimate funds.”

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Money Laundering is the process of taking ‘dirty’ funds and converting it into ‘clean’ funds | Image from KYC Map

According to A Beginner’s Guide To Money Laundering:

Let’s say you [want] to hide a massive bribe. First, you must convert it into another currency without the government knowing. The easiest way to do this is to contact [an agent] who will give you casino chips for your cash, minus fees of up to 20%.

Take the chips to a friendly, cooperative casino, or, for extra safety, take them to a lawyer specializing in offshore laundering. Meanwhile, the casino will mix your chips with those from legitimate gamblers, and its accountants will book your $1 million as paid-out winnings.

Your bank or lawyer must wire-transfer the funds in such a way that the money crosses multiple borders, to frustrate detection or confiscation. For instance, the money might end up in a US trust managed by a shell company in Grand Cayman, owned by another trust in Guernsey with an account in Luxembourg managed by a Swiss or Caribbean or Singaporean banker who doesn’t know who the owner is.

2. “CORRUPTION” and PORTCULLIS TRUSTNET

As concerns grow about the wealth of corporate oligarchs, government officials and their families, some Chinese have braved the government’s anger by raising questions about corruption.

“How can you fight corruption if you don’t even dare to disclose your personal assets?” New Citizens Movement’s founder, legal advocate and activist Xu Zhiyong, wrote last spring.

The government arrested Xu and detained more than 20 other members of the group, indicting some for “disturbing public order” or “illegal assembly,” charges frequently used to silence dissidents.

The files [from this report] come from two offshore firms — Singapore-based Portcullis TrustNet and BVI-based Commonwealth Trust Limited — that help clients create offshore companies, trusts and bank accounts.

Source: Leaked Records Reveal Offshore Holdings of China’s Elite

3. MONEY LAUNDERING IN SINGAPORE

ICIJ is an investigative journalism website which focuses on issues like cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power.

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Singapore Skyline Banking District

From one of their articles on offshore banking in Singapore:

More than 100 customer consultants at Deutsche Bank Singapore helped create or manage 309 offshore entities for its customers in the British Virgin Islands and other tax havens, according to secret records obtained by the news organizations.

Most of the companies carry fantasy names like “Thrilling Returns Incorporated,” “Amazing Opportunity Limited” or “Market Dollar Group Limited.” Public sources don’t show any business activities for most of these companies. Deutsche Bank registered the entities with the help of Portcullis TrustNet, an offshore services provider headquartered in Singapore.

Deutsche Bank’s private banking operations ranked No. 6 among the world’s largest private banks, increasing their assets under management from $180 billion in 2005 to $367 billion in 2010.

Source: ICIJ

From John Harding’s website [John Harding was the former Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Singapore’s Inland Revenue Department (IRAS)]:

Yeo Cheow Tong is a member of the investment team of Tembusu Partners. Yeo was given his retirement pay in a lump sum in order to pay off his debts to bankers and not embarrass the Singapore government.

The Trembusa fund has been awarded Pioneer Status with zero-rated tax incentive for both the fund and the fund management company. The fund has also qualified under the Global Investor Programme by EDB, where foreign investors with S$1.5 million investment into the fund may apply for Permanent Resident Status in Singapore.

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Lim Hwee Hwa: Former Minister and current director at Tembusu Partners.

Andy Lim, who also runs Money World, has been banned from entering China due to money laundering activities of his firm. He has also been charged in court in the Fiji Islands. And here is the BIG CONNECTION with the Singapore Government that is making it all happen. Andy Lim’s wife is Lim Hwee Hua (former minister). Lim Hwee Hua was making nearly four times as much as President Obama, but this is not enough for the crooked lady. She has set up her husband, Andy, to run a scam investment company, where, as an investor, you can get residence in Singapore.

P.S. Lim Hwee Hua is currently a director at Tembusu Partners.

Source: YeoCheowTong.com

On an art scandal that could expose mass fraud in the global art market:

Lawyers and art dealers familiar with the discussions say the case could expand well beyond Bouvier and reach into the top galleries and billionaire collectors in New York, London and Hong Kong. It could widen to involve not only undisclosed mark-ups by dealers, but also tax fraud, global money laundering and possible bribery. 

“This is just the beginning,” said one prominent art lawyer in New York who asked not to be named. “There will be a lot of big dealers and collectors involved.”

Source: CNBC

On 1MDB bank accounts:

Singapore police have started investigations into money laundering on two bank accounts linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) in the island republic. Earlier this year, MAS said it was in touch with Malaysian regulators after Putrajaya said 1MDB had redeemed US$1.1 billion from the Cayman Islands and parked it in the Singapore unit of Swiss private bank BSI.

Source: The Malaysian Insider

4. SINGAPOREANS in ICIJ’S “OFFSHORE LEAKS”

This is a list of names from Singapore who have offshore companies and trusts.

One is former army general, LT-Gen Ng Jui Ping.

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LT-Gen Ng Jui Ping: Offshore Leaks Database. Offshore Service Provider: Portcullis Trustnet (refer to Sections 2 & 3 above).

5. SINGAPORE & BURMA GOVERNMENT

a) For its part, Temasek does not respond to questions about its activities in Burma.

A Singaporean diplomat to Burma, Matthew Sim, says “many successful Myanmar businessmen have opened shell companies” in Singapore “with little or no staff, used to keep funds overseas.”

Sim may be referring to junta cronies such as Tay Za and the druglord Lo Hsing Han. Lo controls a heroin empire and one of Burma’s biggest companies, Asia World, which the US Drug Enforcement Agency describes as a front for his drug trafficking.

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Lo Hsing Han or Law Sit Han (1935 – 2013): Burmese drug trafficker and major business tycoon.

Singapore is the Lo family’s window to the world, a base for controlling several companies. Lo’s son Steven, who has been denied a visa to the US because of his drug links, is married to a Singaporean, Cecilia Ng. A former US assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Robert Gelbard, has said half of Singapore’s investment in Burma has been “tied to the family of narco-trafficker Lo Hsing Han.”

Dissident groups say the trade-off for Tay Za’s government business contracts in Burma is to fund junta leaders’ medical trips to Singapore.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

b) Jelson Garcia, Asia Program Manager with the Banking Information Center (BIC), said World Bank, ADB and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials informed him last year that Burma’s government held up to $11 billion in several Singaporean bank accounts.

In 2009, the US-based non-profit organization Earth Rights International (ERI) reported that the then ruling junta had excluded almost $5 billion in revenues — generated from the Yadana Gas project operated by oil giants Total and Chevron — from the country’s national budget.  These funds, the group found after an investigation, had been placed in two Singapore-based banks — the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation and DBS Group — which functioned as “offshore repositories.” The banks have denied the allegations.

Source: The Irrawaddy

c) Singapore’s economic linkage with Burma is one of the most vital factors for the survival of Burma’s military regime,” says Professor Mya Maung, a Burmese economist based in Boston. This link, he continues, is also central to “the expansion of the heroin trade.”

Singapore has achieved the distinction of being the Burmese junta’s number one business partner — both largest trading partner and largest foreign investor. The close political, economic, and military relationship between the two countries facilitates the weaving of millions of narco-dollars into the legitimate world economy.

Source: Covert Action Quarterly

6. SINGAPORE / DIRTY MONEY

a) Singapore’s national pension system resembles the mother of all Ponzi schemes which is about to implode.

The PAP is aware of the widespread perception that CPF resembles a Ponzi scheme but has not been able convince Singaporeans otherwise. Instead, it has continued to conceal important information from the public.

Source: Phillip Ang

b) The days of banging a million bucks into a secret account in Singapore are over. . .the ability to move corrupt funds overseas is a large part of what makes grand corruption possible.

Source: Global Witness

c) Historically, why are there so many alleged “illegal” monies linked to Singapore?

Source: All Singapore Stuff

7. PM LEE HSIEN LOONG’S COMMENTS on BILLIONAIRES

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“If I can get another 10 billionaires to move to Singapore and set up their base here, my Gini coefficient will get worse but I think Singaporeans will be better off.”
— LHL, 2013

8. VIDEO ON HOW OFFSHORE BANKING WORKS:

The ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database cracks open the impenetrable world of offshore tax havens. Users can look through more than 100,000 secret companies, trusts and funds created in offshore locales such as the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands and Singapore.

Lee Kuan Yew: On Ministers’ Salaries

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[LKY ON MINISTERS’ SALARIES (1980’s)]

1) “In Singapore, [wealth and power] are two different things. And we should keep them as two different entities.”
— LKY, National Day Rally 1984

2) “Recently, we persuaded a graduate, who is a journalist, to be a candidate for the next elections. He went through a stretch of soul-searching. He decided to take up the responsibility.

He explained it this way: In Malaysia, Dr Mahathir [warned] of dangers of using vast sums of money to buy voters. To be elected is the way to power and to wealth. This journalist found [that] in Singapore no one was fighting to be elected either into the Central Executive Committee of the PAP or into Parliament. There was no money to be made. . .no dishonest or opportunistic or selfish and greedy types [should] ever get into positions of powers.”
— Lee Kuan Yew (16 August 1984 / PDF Download)

[LKY ON MINISTERS’ SALARIES (1990’s)]

3) “It is possible that politically and socially uncommitted people from the higher management and professional brackets will be attracted to the idea of public office for this higher pay. . .[but] if this salary formula can draw out higher quality men into politics, whatever their motivations, I say, let us have them.”
— Lee Kuan Yew (1 November 1994)

4) “Ministers who deal with billions of dollars cannot be paid low salaries without risking a system malfunction. Low salaries will not attract able men who are or can be successful in their professions or business. Low salaries will draw in the hypocrites who sweet talk their way into power in the name of public services, but once in charge will show their true colour, and ruin the country.”
— Lee Kuan Yew (19 July 1996)

5) “Equality is an aspiration: it is not reality, it is not practical.”
— Lee Kuan Yew (19 August 2009)

[PERSPECTIVES ON SG MINISTERS’ SALARIES]

6) Mr Jeyaretnam: “The Prime Minister more than once said, “Let’s be honest with ourselves.” Well, let us be honest. What is the Prime Minister saying? Is he saying that his present Cabinet Ministers or the new recruits into his Party would not have come in unless they were promised huge sums of money by way of high salaries? . . . If they are only interested in the money, there is no integrity.”
1985 Budget Debate (via Roy Ngerng)

7) “How much money does it take to keep a Singapore government minister happy? The government says a million dollars is not enough.
— NYT (2007)

8) “The broader issue is that politics is a public service. Other corruption-free countries such as Denmark and New Zealand do not need to pay their ministers astronomical salaries to keep them clean.”
— Tan Jee Say, former senior civil servant and fund manager (2011)

9) “Given that ministers get to decide on their salaries, aren’t we in essence giving them a blank check in the name of preventing corruption?”
— Aaron Chew (2011)

* ‘Blank Check’ Definition: An unlimited freedom of action.

10) “DPM [Teo Chee Hean] talked of the ethos of political service. How this can be reconciled with paying themselves obscenely high salaries in order to serve the people? Is this service to the people or self-serving?
— Singapore Recalcitrant (11 March 2015)

All in the FamiLee

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Associated words used by netizens: FamiLEE, LEE-gime, LEEgalised corruption, LEEgacy, and Marry-tocracy.

I was very curious about a Lee Family Tree graphic that was created by Alternative View SG.

I have gathered some excerpts from reliable sources which verify most of the family ties in this Lee Family Tree image.

If readers know of any inaccuracies, please contact me to verify the data. Thank you :)

LeeFamily

* SECTION 1: RUMOURS AND SPECULATIONS

1) RUTH LEE = LKY’s Niece

Wong Kan Seng is married to Ruth Lee Hong Geok, who is rumoured to be the daughter of Lee Suan Yew (Lee Kuan Yew’s brother). If this is true, it makes Ruth Lee LKY’s niece.

Here are a couple of pictures of Ruth Lee and Wong Kan Seng:

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Wong Kan Seng with his wife, Ruth Lee Hong Geok. Image from Veritas.

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Ruth Lee and Wong Kan Seng. Image from RememberingLKY.

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Lee Kuan Yew extended family picture, taken on Chinese New Year’s Eve (1993). From LKY’s memoir, “The Man and His Ideas” (pg-246).

In the above picture taken in 1993, it looks like the woman to the right of Ho Ching is Shermay Lee (LKY’s niece). Her parents are Pamelia Lee and Lee Suan Yew, who have four children.

In a Straits Times interview, Shermay Lee said she has an older sister and younger twin brothers. (Note: I am guessing these younger twin brothers are in the 1993 black and white picture above, in front on the right.)

Pamelia Lee is standing and in the centre of the 1993 photo. Looking at this pictures makes me wonder if the woman to the left of Pamelia Lee is “Ruth Lee,” the older sister that Shermay referred to.

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* SECTION 2: VERIFIED BY RELIABLE SOURCES

This section contains excerpts and screenshots which verify the other family ties in the Lee Family Tree graphic.

1) HO SING = HO CHING’S Younger Brother

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Ho Ching (left; image from SI). Ho Sing (right; image from YTL).

A 2010 Today Online article mentioned that Ho Sing, then 44, is the brother of Temasek CEO Ho Ching.

Ho Sing has worked with several Singapore Technologies-affiliated companies. At YTL, Mr. Ho oversees a growing list of assets in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, China and Japan.

Ho Ching was the CEO of Singapore Technologies Group from 1997-2001. A 2007 NYT article mentioned that a Temasek spokesman was unwilling to reveal Ho Ching’s age or date of birth, although a Temasek bond document in 2005 said she was 52.

As the following netizen says: “I don’t understand why all the secrecy.”

2) HO PENG = HO CHING’S Younger Sister

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Ho Peng. Image from ST.

A 2005 Fortune Magazine interview mentioned that Ho Peng, who was then working as the Curriculum Planning and Development director at the Ministry of Education (Singapore), is Ho Ching’s sister.

Ms. Ho Peng was appointed Director-General of Education in April 2009. She retired from the MOE in March 2015.

3) GRACE FU = DAUGHTER OF JAMES FU

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James Fu was Mr. LKY’s press secretary from 1972 to 1993.

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Grace Fu. Image from Wiki.

Grace Fu, senior minister of state, is the daughter of James Fu.

In 2012, she wrote about the difficulties of “the recent pay cut” in ministers’ salaries. With a 37% pay cut, entry-level ministers would get an annual salary starting from S$1,100,000.

4) KWA CHONG SENG = NEPHEW OF LKY’S WIFE

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Kwa Chong Seng. Image from PSC.

Kwa Chong Seng, PSC member, was the Deputy Chairman of Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited from 1997 to 2012.

“It was in the immediate wake of the HPL affair of 1996 that LKY initiated a series of changes to the relationship between the DCAC and the GLCs — changes that were part of a broader overhaul of the financial sector that finally came to fruition in 1999. Lee Hsien Loong as Deputy Prime Minister was given special responsibility for this project and set about changing the structure — and the personnel — in the GLC sector.

This activity marked a major shift of institutional power away from Goh and Richard Hu and to members of the Lee family and a few Lee loyalists. First the power to appoint board members and non-executive directors of GLCs was transferred from the DCAC to Temasek holdings.

This is significant because it occured around the same time (1996) that LKY loyalist S. Dhanabalan was appointed Chairman of Temasek Holdings and LKY’s wife’s nephew, Kwa Chong Seng, was appointed Deputy Chairman of Temasek Holdings (1997).

It may be significant that at about the same time (1997) Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, was appointed Executive Director and CEO of the Singapore Technologies Group, which is the Temasek-owned holding company for defence-related GLCs.”

(Source: The Ruling Elite of Singapore, by Michael Barr)

5) KWA SOON BEE (LKY’s Brother-In-Law)

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Kwa Soon Bee. Image from KeppelLand.

“Many senior business figures in Asia are related to other prominent figures by blood or by marriage. The connections in Asia are often not obvious to outsiders but they can be a minefield for the unwary.

The mix of marriages and blood relations in Asia can make for some complex webs. Here are a few examples that involve some of Asia’s biggest business names:

Lee Kim Yew, Chairman of the Singapore food company Cerebos Pacific, is a brother of Singapore’s Senior Minister and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Lee Kim Yew’s wife is Gloria Lee, the founder of one of Singapore’s most prominent stock brokerages Kim Eng Securities.

A third brother is Lee Suan Yew, a past director of Singapore’s Hotel Properties Ltd. His wife, Pamelia Lee, has been a senior director at the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board. Kwa Soon Bee, the brother of Lee Kuan Yew’s wife Kwa Geok Choo, is a former permanent secretary of health and a member of the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board.

Lee Kuan Yew’s sons Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Hsien Yang are deputy prime minister of Singapore and head of Singapore Telecom respectively. Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, is head of Temasek Holdings.”

(Source: Big in Asia, by Palgrave Macmillan / 2003)

6) TAN CHIN TUAN (OCBC Pioneer + Tony Tan’s Uncle + LKY’s Uncle-in-Law)

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Group Photograph of Founding Members of OCBC, 1932, showing Tan Chin Tuan (front row; fourth from left) and Kwa Siew Tee (back row; third from left). Source: Veritas / NAS.

  • Kwa Siew Tee is Lee Kuan Yew’s father-in-law.
  • Lee Kuan Yew’s mother-in-law, Wee Yew Neo and Banker Tan Chin Tuan’s wife, Helen Wee (a banker’s daughter), are half-sisters.
  • Which makes Tan Chin Tuan LKY’s uncle-in-law.
  • Tony Tan is Tan Chin Tuan’s nephew. Tony Tan was sworn in as President on 1 September 2011.

This is a picture of Kwa Siew Tee and Wee Yew Neo:

weeyewneo

President Yusof Ishak with Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew’s Parents, Kwa Siew Tee (left) and Wee Yew Neo (right), 1968. | Image from National Archives of Singapore.

This screenshot from Geni (a genealogy directory) states that Helen Wee and Wee Yew Neo are half-sisters.

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Wee Yew Neo. Image from Geni.

These screenshots show that Helen Wee was married to Tan Chin Tuan.

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Family of Tan Chin Tuan. Image from NLB.

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Tan Chin Tuan. Image from Geni.

According to the blog Veritas:

Without the Kwa family network of powerful families, it is questionable whether LKY could have emerged as the leader of the PAP in the 1950s, given that there were many other extremely capable and charismatic leaders in the party. The nexus of Kwa family probably also helped LKY to win the trust of the British, which handed over to him the control of security apparatus. That is the key with which LKY was able to arrest his political opponents.

7) TEO CHENG GUAN (father of DPM Teo Chee Hean):

teocheehean

Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister of SG.

Teo Cheng Guan was the sixth chairman of OCBC Bank, and the father of Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

He was on the same management board as Tan Chin Tuan, Tony Tan’s uncle.

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* SECTION 3: SAY THE WORD AND GET SUED

Definition of “Nepotism”: The practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. (Oxford)

A summary of how “nepotism” is a sensitive word in Singapore — including publications that were sued for alleging that high-ranking Singapore officials got their jobs through nepotism.

1) “Days after political website Temasek Review Emeritus (TRE) revealed Mr Richard Wan as of one of its editors, lawyers acting for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued him a five-page letter in 2012, demanding that the website remove an opinion piece that contained comments which alleged “nepotistic motives” in the appointment of Lee’s wife as head of sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings. After retracting the article, Wan published an apology on the website, and urged TRE readers to refrain from making similar comments.”
(Source: SG Rebel and Asia Sentinel)

2) “The problems created by Lee Kuan Yew’s urge to control most aspects of Singaporeans’ lives are more subtle than nepotism. Lack of political and economic freedom [is] the cancer at the heart of Singapore.”
(Source: WSJ)

3) “In its apology, Bloomberg said its article had implied that Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong had put the Lee family’s interests above the country’s in allowing Ms. Ho’s appointment, and that her husband and father-in-law were guilty of nepotism. Lawyers for the three men accused Bloomberg and Mr. Smith of acting maliciously. The article has been removed from Bloomberg’s Web site and subscription service.”
(Source: NYT)

4) “The Financial Times has apologised and paid libel damages and costs to Singapore’s prime minister and the country’s founding father after accusing them of nepotism.”
(Source: Guardian)

5) “The International Herald Tribune apologised, settled the $678,000 in libel damages, and, as part of the settlement, [columnist] Bowring agreed that he would not say or imply that Lee Hsien Long took office through nepotism.”
(Source: Foreign Policy)

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* SECTION 4: IS NEPOTISM CORRUPTION?

According to Wikipedia:

Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement.

Some other excerpts:

1) “Corruption comes in different forms and nepotism is one of its most subtle and overpowering forms. . .it marks the destruction of a meritocracy which should be the basis of admissions or employment. The problem with nepotism is even though only a few people in power have the ability to use nepotism for their own gain, its effects are widespread and affect many people.”
(Source: DNA)

2) “Favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism all interfere with fairness because they give undue advantage to someone who does not necessarily merit this treatment.

In the public sphere, favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism also undermine the common good. When someone is granted a position because of connections rather than because he or she has the best credentials and experience, the service that person renders to the public may be inferior.

Also, because favoritism is often covert (few elected officials are foolish enough to show open partiality to friends, and family), this practice undercuts the transparency that should be part of governmental hiring and contracting processes.”
(Source: Santa Clara University)

3) “When patronage, nepotism, and cronyism become popular mechanisms for government to select appointees for important positions, the corruption of collusion (i.e. conspiracy) will unavoidably take place.”
(Source: Government Anti-Corruption Strategies)

4) “There needs to be a change. Singapore is not the Lee Family and we need to get rid of the climate of fear.”
(Source: KJ in IB Times)

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* SECTION 5: CLOSING COMMENTS

X’ Ho on Nepotism:

“Is nepotism not considered corruption? Just consider: LKY’s son is PM, his other son was head of 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 benefited 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.”
(Source: Chris Ho)

Former ISD Director on PM LHL and Ho Ching:

“She did not marry me and become Temasek Holdings’ Chief Executive Officer. I married her because she had the talent of a CEO.” This was the dramatic revelation of PM Lee Hsien Loong in referring to his wife, Ms Ho Ching, in an interview with Mr. Phil Ponce, host of the Chicago Tonight on WTTW Channel 11 last Thursday. Apparently, this was said to pre-empt Mr. Ponce from popping the question of nepotism in the Singapore government.
(Source: SG Recalcitrant)

Comment:

“You can see they all ‘kaki lang‘ (one of us) — damn jia lat (this is serious).”
(Source: breakaway)

* * *

MORE INFO (re: the “wider” family tree):

1) Why It Might Be Difficult For The Government To Withdraw From Business
(Singapore-Window)

2) “The Lee Dynasty of Singapore”
(Comment)

3) The Beginning of The End of Lee Kuan Yew’s Dynasty?
(CSIS)

Singapore: Fascist or Democratic?

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Fascism (definition): “A totalitarian philosophy of government that [assigns] to the state control over every aspect of national life.” (TWT)

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14 DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS OF FASCISM (short version)

SOURCE: Lawrence Britt / Free Inquiry

[Infographic / Summary followed by Full Text]

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14 DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS OF FASCISM (longer version)

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia*. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

* View “Singapore: The Politics of Inventing National Identity,” by Stephan Ortmann
(PDF download).

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military: Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism: The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media: Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security: Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected: The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed: Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment: Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections: Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or (character) assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

SOURCE: Lawrence Britt / Free Inquiry

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ADDITIONAL LINKS:

a) Censorship in Singapore (Wikipedia)

b) Excerpts from “Anti-colonialism. . .Operation Coldstore” (Thum Ping Tjin)

c) Is this not a mockery of democracy? (Singapore Recalcitrant)

d) Hushed Fascism, Singapore-Style (Chris Ho / Facebook)

e) Political Abuse of Psychiatry (re: Amos Yee)

f) Singapore Blogger Faces ‘Financial Ruin’ (re: Roy Ngerng / Forbes)

g) Teo Soh Lung (on “fighting back with words”) and SDP / CSJ (on “accountability“)

h) Jolly Hangman (re: human rights abuses / Alan Shadrake)

i) Exciting Conversation on Facebook

Rule of Law not to be found in Singapore

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* Also on The Real SG and Singapore Repository.

Transcribed by Jess C Scott from the Toledo Blade archives (1997).

* * *

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“Rule of law not to be found in Singapore”
by William Safire (Toledo Blade – Jun 3, 1997)

WASHINGTON — In Nazi Germany, dictators used the power of a corrupted and compliant judiciary to cloak with legitimacy the regime’s need to lock up, torture, or drive out any who dared oppose them.

That same device — the misuse of law — is being used today in Singapore. The local dictator, Lee Kuan Yew, has developed his own method of silencing his political opponents and courageous journalists: He has had his lap-dog judges condemn critics for libel and assess fines to be paid to the dictator and his henchmen.

Here’s how the judicial gang operates: A veteran lawyer named Tang Liang Hong had the temerity to run against the ruling party this year. When he mentioned scandalous discounts the dictator received in a real estate deal, Mr. Lee and his coterie charged Mr. Tang with being “an anti-English education, anti-Christian Chinese chauvinist.”

As might be expected in a political campaign, Mr. Tang denied that and called his attackers liars — thereby stepping into a libel trap. Mr. Lee and cohort sued for millions. When the “election” ended, Mr. Tang wisely beat it out of town to Hong Kong because he claimed to fear for his safety. Lee & Co. sued him for saying that, too.

When Mr. Lee sues, judges jump. His bench socked Mr. Tang for $5.8 million for subverting the dictator’s “moral authority to govern” and, while the lap-dog judges were at it, ordered the miscreant dissenter arrested on 33 counts of tax evasion.

In his 63-page judgement, the presiding judge recalled with pleasure a previous award to Mr. Lee of $400,000 from the International Herald Tribune for a piece he claimed suggested that compliant judges were used by Mr. Lee to bankrupt political opponents. Mr. Tang’s “ferocious and venomous” suggestion that the senior minister lied was worth at least 10 times that.

What we have here is a plain and simple extortion racket. The dictator uses the courts to squeeze opponents for money or to exact tribute from the Trib, making sure to appoint judges who deliver for him by bankrupting and exiling the opposition. Singapore is run by efficient political racketeers professing respect for law and order.

Why should this bother us? The regional reason: Singapore’s ultra-orderly economy and anti-democratic politics make up the dangerous “model” being followed by China. A broader reason: The Singapore virus — the notion that capitalist prosperity can be abetted by political repression — could infect the global economy with its strain of fascism.

But nobody’s worried. The World Economic Forum hails Singapore as No. 1 in Economic Freedom — when the mention of “freedom” in the same breath as Singapore is a joke.

The Nixon Center for Peace and Pragmatism, controlled by Henry Kissinger, James Schlesinger, and Maurice Greenberg, looks back fondly at Mr. Lee’s anti-communist past and honors him as its “architect of the next century.” And travelers who profess to stand for human rights help tyranny along by flying Singapore Airlines.

Worst of all, the organs of international opinion — supposed guardians of free speech — kowtow commercially to the despot and his nespot son. Times, Newsweek, The Financial Times write on eggs to avoid litigation in Extortionland; the Wall Street Journal invests with Singapore in a regional news network, and the Herald Tribune, owned by the New York Times and Washington Post, still operates in the scene of its past humiliation.

Why don’t my brethren combine in restraint of trading with the avowed enemy of democracy’s values? We aren’t helpless; news media can locate headquarters in Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Taipei, which are already sites for printing and distribution.

Integrity makes possible finality. Someday the beacon of the rule of law will shine into Singapore and all the dark corners of the world.

william safire

William Safire is a syndicated columnist who writes for the New York Times. Toledo Blade, 1997.

Nassim Jade Scandal

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* Featured on The Real SG.

1. “INCORRUPTIBILITY”

Asiaweek covered the Nassim Jade Scandal in May 1996, reminding readers in the introduction that the Singapore government “takes pride in its image of incorruptibility.”

2. NASSIM JADE (HPL)

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Image of Nassim Jade | HPL

Nassim Jade is an exclusive, four-storey condominium located in one of the most prestigious districts in Singapore. It is owned by Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), which owns other upscale condominiums in Singapore such as Four Seasons Park and Scotts 28.

In 1996, the “pre-launch” secret purchases of Nassim Jade units by Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, his son, and their family members became publicly known. The Stock Exchange of Singapore said HPL “was not forthcoming in responding to the Exchange’s requests for information.”

The situation became so bad that Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong directed these purchases to be investigated by Finance Minister, Richard Hu, and Deputy Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Koh Beng Seng.

3. ONG BENG SENG

In The Business Times, Ong Beng Seng — property tycoon, founder and managing director of Hotel Properties Ltd (HPL) — described the fuss over the purchases of four condominiums by Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as being “damn unfair.”

4. JOHN HARDING

John Harding is the former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Inland Revenue at Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

He lays down the facts in the following blog comment:

When the “Nassim Jade Scandal” broke, involving Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and his family, I was working at Singapore’s Inland Revenue, and [knew] the names of the guilty before the “Nassim Jade Scandal” hit Singapore.

Sometime between April and early May of 1995, Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), of which Lee Suan Yew was a director, offered units at Nassim Jade to “close business associates” for sale before its official launch for sale to the public.

The investigation revealed that not only had Lee Kuan Yew, his brother and his son purchased these apartments [at Nassim Jade and Scotts 28], they were offered substantial discounts to boot.

The apartments were due to be put on sale on the open market on April 27 1995. Three days before the official launch, HPL conducted a “soft launch” where a select group of potential customers were invited to have first go at the apartments. This was not exactly an unheard of practice amongst property developers. The problem was that because HPL was a publicly listed company, it had shareholders to account to. Rules under the SES Manual Listing stated that approval had to be sought for transactions involving “connected persons” of the company involved and those persons’ associates. HPL did not seek the permission of its shareholders and Lee Suan Yew, Lee’s brother, was a director of the company.

At the soft launch, Lee Kuan Yew’s wife, Kwa Geok Choo, chose an apartment to buy. She was quoted a price of $3,578,260 (or $1,583 per square foot) for the apartment. This was a seven percent discount on the list price.

Later, Kwa Geok Choo contacted her son, Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and told him of the Nassim Jade apartments upon which he called his Aunty Pamelia Lee, wife of Uncle Suan Yew, and said that he and his wife, Ho Ching, wanted to get in on the deal as well. Aunty Pamelia then later came back to her nephew and offered him an apartment for $3,645,100 a discount of 12 per cent or $437,412 on the asking price. The Deputy Prime Minister accepted his Auntie’s offer.

This was not all. On the Scotts 28 condominiums, similar offers and purchases were made. Greedy Lee Kuan Yew and son bought two more units and paid $2,791,500 and $2,776,400 respectively for them, each bagging a five percent discount.

All in all, Lee Kuan Yew received from HPL a total of $416,252 whilst Lee Junior got $643,185 in discounts. All the purchases amounted to more than $10 million and were carried out without mortgages and loans.

It was also found out that Lee Kuan Yew’s entire family was in on the purchases. Daughter Lee Wei Ling, a medical doctor in a government hospital; sister Lee Kim Mon; and his two other brothers Freddy and Dennis; Kwa Kim Li, a niece of Lee; and Gloria Lee, Lee’s sister in law, all bought the condos at hefty discounts. Daughter Wei Ling bought two apartments at Nassim Jade and was reported to have sold one off for a tidy profit. Again, all these transactions were carried out without the approval of the shareholders of HPL.

It must be remembered that all this while, decisions of sales and the discounts were carried out secretly at the directors’ level by Lee Suan Yew. None of the shareholders nor the SES had the slightest idea of what was going on and neither did the Singapore public.

It was a national disgrace for Singapore.

5. FRANCIS SEOW’S “BEYOND SUSPICION?

The eloquent speaker Francis T. Seow is a former solicitor general of Singapore.

The first chapter of his riveting book, Beyond Suspicion? The Singapore Judiciary, is entirely devoted to the Nassim Jade Scandal.

About the scandal, Mr. Seow wrote:

“Singapore’s anxious young upwardly mobile professionals [viewed] with dismay such preferential purchases of properties as virtually closed to them. . .unless they were also numbered among the rich and powerful. Such swelling angry public perception was bad news for a government at the best of times, but with a general election looming over the horizon, it was a prescription for disaster. Unless it was defused quickly, it could turn into a political time bomb.”

6. TANG LIANG HONG

Tang Liang Hong was a lawyer and opposition Workers’ Party candidate.

When Mr. Tang was interviewed by the Hong Kong-based magazine, Yazhou Zhoukan, about the Nassim Jade scandal, he questioned:

“Why wasn’t this matter handed over to a professional body like Commercial Affairs Department or Corrupt Practice Investigation Bureau? They are government departments. . .well-known for being [firm and impartial]. They would be more detached and their reports would have been more convincing to the people. Koh Beng Seng and Finance Minister Richard Hu are after all not experts in this field.” (Tang Liang Hong, 1996/97)

LKY and his son took offence at those remarks, and commenced a libel action. The presiding judge was Justice Lai Kew Chai, a former partner of the prime minister’s law firm of Lee and Lee.

Tang Liang Hong was bankrupted and had his property seized following the 1997 general election. He entered into self-imposed exile in Australia.

7. NETIZENS’ COMMENTS

(a) “It saddens and angers me that this ‘Lee’ family think they rule the whole of Singapore and [that] they are above the law.”
(SG Forums)

(b) “Korean President Lee Myung Bak bought an expensive plot of land for his own retirement home using the name of his own son. In suspicious and filthy arrangement the transaction was carried out but exposed. Similar to LHL’s HPL Nassim Jade Corruption Scandal.”
(DiscussWorldIssues)

(c) “What is disgusting about the entire Lee family is this. They not only are thieves, they take offense when you call them so.”
(LKY’s Monopoly on Corruption, Gopalan Nair)

8. YOONG SIEW WAH – FORMER ISD DIRECTOR

As former ISD director, Mr. Yoong Siew Wah, aptly summarizes:

“That the Singapore ministers are filthy rich, especially MM Lee’s family, is obscenely plain for the people to see. In spite of his opulence, MM Lee is drawing a whopping salary and jetting around at taxpayers’ expense to spout poetries to a gullible world audience. As he says when the coffin is closed, you will have the verdict. We all look forward to the day, especially those who survive him.”
(Singapore Recalcitrant, 25 April 2009)