Shanmugam: Our approach to the law has worked

I refer to the report dated 29 Oct 2009.

Mr Shanmugam starts by saying that women and children feel safe to travel any time, anywhere in Singapore which he then attributes to our strict laws and law enforcement. However, there are many first world cities and countries like Hong Kong and Japan where women too can walk safely at night. Yet these places do not have laws as strict as ours. These places show that it is not necessarily strict laws that explain why our country is so safe.

Mr Shanmugam’s statement that 90% of our population owns homes may not necessarily be true either. Of the more than 900,000 HDB homes in existence, more than 400,000 have yet to repay their loans. For these 400,000 homes, the title deed is kept by the HDB so technically, the HDB owns these homes. So the real home ownership rate in Singapore is probably closer to 50%.

The speech given by Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong has also served to confuse participants like Mr Jeffrey Tanenbaum who concedes, based on his observation of the commercial realm, that the law here merely reflects our culture rather than executive interference. But why would the executive interfere with commercial affairs when it is highly dependent on multinationals for our continued economic prosperity? Executive interference only makes sense in the political realm where the battering of political opponents and the control of the media can only bring good and nothing but the good for the executive. So making reference to the wrong field has led Mr Tanenbaum to make the wrong conclusions.

To continue with Mr Shanmugam’s metaphor, whether or not the pig wears the lip stick, it continues to rule over the animal farm.

If there is such a thing as the Singapore exceptionalism, it is no more exceptional than those of the other East Asian dragons of Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. With the rapid rise of China, the whole of East Asia, will collectively be exceptional. So what is really so exceptional when each of the democracies of Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea achieves as much as authoritarian Singapore?

So perhaps, the exceptionalism lies not with Singapore per say but with the fact that Singapore is East Asian.


One Response to “Shanmugam: Our approach to the law has worked”

  1. The Singapore Daily » Blog Archive » Weekly Roundup: Week 46 Says:

    […] Rebut or Engage? – Urbanrant: Is the penalty too light for such a crime? – Yours Truly Singapore: Shanmugam: Our approach to the law has worked – Yawning Bread: Sucking demigods’ toes – Balderdash: My favourite part of the Penal Code – […]

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