by Augustine Low
The spectacular downfall of Liew Mun Leong is a shock to the system – the People’s Action Party system.
It was the PAP system which set up Liew for stardom – he became an upstanding member of society and a darling of the establishment. As elite and entitled as they come in this country.
Liew’s every word and action became the gold standard. His Chancery Lane address alone bestowed him prestige and respectability.
As an entrenched member of the establishment, Liew became too big to challenge, too big to be disproved and too big to do any wrong. There are many like him. This is the hallmark of the PAP system.
The High Court judgement lays bare the stunning details. Had investigators and prosecutors done a thorough, professional job, had they not given Liew the benefit of the doubt every step of the way, things would have turned out differently.
The case might not even have gone to trial. Liew and his family would then have been spared the eventual outcome – the bombshell High Court findings, too damning to sweep under the rug.
Instead of reining in the excesses, Liew was treated with kid gloves and given a free pass.
A runaway train, when not reined in, will self-destruct or cause twisted wreckage. Ironically, the system that Liew profited from ended up causing his downfall because it was not robust enough to keep him in check.
Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said something has “gone wrong in the chain of events.” More important than that, how did the system crack in such breathtaking fashion? What happened to the checks and balances?
The downfall of Liew ought to prompt the PAP government to do soul searching. Unless the PAP has the will and wherewithal to fix the system, trust and confidence in the system will not be restored.