Despite the Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) led Government’s best efforts to defend the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) signed in 2005 between Singapore and India, it seems to have fallen on deaf ears where netizens are concerned.
While the figures show that trade between the 2 countries have grown and experts have claimed that Ceca has created jobs, people have seemingly remained sceptical and have in fact questioned if the increased trade has actually benefited the average citizen.
Without going into the data (which is the subject of another article altogether), it is clear that there is growing disconnect between the establishment and the people.
A recent example of this growing rift between the general populace and the ruling classes is how the whole Liew Mun Leong saga has been seemingly mishandled by those with power and influence.
When the Liew scandal first broke, Chief Executive of Temasek International, the wholly-owned management and investment arm of Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings, Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara (Dilhan) had publicly rushed to Liew’s defence arguing that we needed to hear Liew’s side of the story when in reality, the courts have already heard it and ruled against him.
He further said:
“There are many individuals who have contributed to both public service and to the private sector in Singapore for the benefit of Singapore and our population as a whole. (Liew) is one of those persons, and his track record at CapitaLand, at Changi Airport Group, and at Surbana Jurong attest to that.”
To defend a man that the High Court has ruled against ,with evidence that he very likely framed his foreign domestic worker (FDW) – not to mention having exploited her by making her regularly clean his son’s house and office against Ministry of Manpower (MOM) rules, seems a slap in the face to Singaporeans who obey those rules.
It also adds insult to injury to Parti Liyani who has spent years in limbo without an income because of this family’s conduct! Dilhan’s comments are not only insensitive, they display a sense of entitlement that those in power may possess – the idea that profit trumps everything else, even if a crime has been likely committed!
The fact that Dilhan can say this with a straight face, seemingly oblivious to public anger could well show that the gulf between the establishment and mere mortals is wider than we realise. And, given that Dilhan is presumably speaking as a representative of Temasek, what does this say about Temasek’s corporate values?
To compound matters, Surbana Jurong has given a nauseatingly glowing review of Liew’s contributions when in reality, this may have been a man who lied to the police and the courts (funded by public monies) just to pursue a personal agenda against a poor and uninfluential FDW. In first place, Liew should have been sacked! Not only has he been allowed to gracefully resign, he is given a tribute as if he has founded a cure for COVID-19? Where is the sense of propriety?
The Minister for Law has also seemingly tried to downplay matters by urging the public not to go on a witch hunt. In this, the Minister may have misunderstood public sentiment.
The people want answers and accountability. They are not on a witch hunt. They want justice. To talk of a witch hunt may misguidedly fan the flames of public outrage. What the public want is reassurance that the Government will leave no stone unturned in punishing those guilty of this heinous initial miscarriage of justice — they do not need to be told what not to do.
While K Shanmuggam has acknowledged that “something has gone wrong in the chain of events”, he also noted by the same token that it is good to see that justice has been served. Yet, can justice really be said to have been served if a Committee of Inquiry (COI) has still not yet been convened to get to the bottom of how this matter got to this stage in the first place?
Given the interconnecting web of relationships between the parties, the seeming mishandling of this by the Singapore Police Force and the illogical conclusion of the Lower Courts, isn’t the best way to get justice, to convene a COI?
Yet this has not yet been done as a matter of urgency.