Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

'Inexpensive' may prove costly in litigious Singapore - The Australian

Expand Messages
  • Eric Ellis - The Australian
    Source: The Australian January 30, 2003 Inexpensive may prove costly in litigious Singapore Eric Ellis, Singapore THE sensitive little petals of Singapore
    Message 1 of 62 , Feb 5, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Source: The Australian
      January 30, 2003
      'Inexpensive' may prove costly in litigious Singapore
      Eric Ellis, Singapore

      THE sensitive little petals of Singapore are feeling it again.
      The leading state-owned bank in a country whose political and
      business elite have the world's most impressive record at winning
      libel actions - albeit ones fought in their own courts - is taking on
      US magazine BusinessWeek.

      It's the city state's latest foreign press libel stoush and this time
      the case centres on the use of the word "inexpensive". That's how
      BusinessWeek described, in passing, a loan offer made by the
      Singapore government-controlled DBS Group to a planned management
      buyout of the government-owned steelmaker, NatSteel.

      The apparently offensive word was contained in an otherwise
      favourable article last September for Ho Ching, the eldest daughter-
      in-law of political strongman Lee Kuan Yew, about how she's reforming
      Singapore's raft of companies controlled by the state company,
      Temasek Holdings.

      At the time of the perceived libel, Ho's Temasek ultimately
      controlled both DBS and NatSteel. Temasek and DBS have a common
      chairman, Suppiah Dhanabalan, a long-time political ally of Lee.

      The DBS suit, fought by prominent libel lawyer and an MP in Lee's
      ruling People's Action Party, K. Shanmugam, alleges the
      magazine "injured [the plaintiffs'] credit and reputation" and
      brought DBS Group and DBS Bank into "public scandal, odium and
      contempt".

      Singapore's elite, about whom it's said see defamation in a harsh
      light, have fought, and beaten, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Time,
      Asiaweek and Bloomberg, among other international names respected for
      their accuracy and authority. A common link among these mastheads is
      that each has operations in Singapore and are thus subject to
      Singaporean penalties.

      But a libel action is new ground for BusinessWeek, the magazine
      selected by Singapore's leadership to portray its supposed reform of
      its state sector. Its correspondent was given preferred access to
      Singapore's leaders, who promoted a shake-up at Temasek, and defended
      the suggestions of nepotism that followed Ho's appointment as the
      most senior executive in Singapore Inc.

      The powers-that-be seemed pleased enough with BusinessWeek's June
      articles, which were subsequently reproduced in the state-controlled
      media. The September article, essentially a follow-up to June's
      favourable coverage, earned a libel suit, however.

      Unlike Bloomberg, which last year quickly settled a $500,000 action
      brought by Ho's husband and father-in-law, as well as Singapore Prime
      Minister Goh Chok Tong, BusinessWeek said it will "deny each and
      every allegation made in the statement of claim" by DBS Group and DBS
      Bank.
    • SDP
      Any one these days can promise the havens and the earth......but delivering on the promise is another thing altogether. Some examples of unfulfilled
      Message 62 of 62 , Mar 8, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        Any one these days can promise the havens and the earth......but delivering on the promise is another thing altogether.

        Some examples of unfulfilled promises....;

        JUDGE MY GOVT BY ITS RESULTS: PM Goh Chok Tong

        The Rhetoric

        "The price of a good government is $34 million a year - just $11 per
        Singaporean a year - or the cost of five plates of char kway teow per
        citizen."
        - Straits Times, July 1, 2000

        "A million dollars for a minister seems a lot when compared with the
        salary of a worker. But $34 million for all the ministers and
        political office-holders is a tiny drop when compared with the
        increase in GDP that a good government can produce..."
        - PM Goh Chok Tong, Straits Times, July 1, 2000


        The Reality

        The Singapore economy contracted by 2% in 2001 (Singapore Department
        of Statistics). Singapore has undergone two recessions in three
        years - 1998 and 2001. December 2001 figures show that 101,800
        persons are unemployed.
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------

        SIZE DOES MATTER

        The Rhetoric

        "GLCs added only 12.9% to the Singapore economy, says BG Yeo. Smaller
        companies need not worry about being edged out."
        - Straits Times, February 24, 2001

        "...there is a perception that GLCs dominate our economy...This is
        not correct."
        - MTI Minister George Yeo, Straits Times, Feb 24 2001

        The Reality

        "The government external economy constituted more than 50% of the
        total external economy in 1998. If one takes into account the GLC-
        owned external economy, then the government share balloons to some
        60%. Foreign MNCs accounted for 29% whereas the local private sector
        (excluding GLCs) owned 11%. It is therefore clear that if the
        government and GLCs fail to secure a good return on their external
        economy, the performance of the economy overall would be adversely
        affected."
        - Morgan Stanley report "Singapore's Investment Abroad 1997-1998"

        "GLCs have evolved into major economic institutions that account for
        over 60 percent of Singapore's GDP."
        - US Embassy in Singapore economic report Sept 2000

        "GLCs estimated contribution to GDP in 1998 of 12.9 per cent was not
        insignificant."
        - Singapore Department of Statistics, March 2001

        --------------------------------------------------------

        LABOUR CHIEF WANTS TO LOWER YOUR WAGES

        The Rhetoric

        "A worker in Singapore will cost $1000 per month or more, but there
        is a bountiful stream of workers in China who will gladly work for
        $100 per month ... that is why we should lower our wage costs."
        - Labour chief Lim Boon Heng, Straits Times, June 17 2002

        The Reality

        "Singapore ninth most expensive city in the world."
        - Economic Intelligence Unit, Jan 2001

        -----------------------------------------------------------------
        A tale of two salaries

        The Rhetoric

        "This stingy government of ours is paying me only RM16,000 a month to
        do two jobs."
        - Malaysia's Prime Minister and Finance Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad,
        Straits Times, 25 Nov, 2002

        "A million dollars for a minister seems a lot when compared with the
        salary of a worker. But $34 million for all the ministers and
        political office-holders is a tiny drop compared with the increase in
        GDP that a good government can produce."
        - PM Goh Chok Tong, Straits Times, July 1, 2000

        The Reality

        "Malaysia's economy expanded by by 5.6 per cent in the third quarter."
        - Straits Times, Nov 28, 2002

        "Singapore may face its second recession in two years."
        - Straits Times, Nov 19, 2002

        ----------------------------------------------------------------
        FATHER & SON ON JBJ

        The Rhetoric

        "If you are Singaporean, you should stay on and fight and argue your
        case and persuade more people to believe you and one day change the
        policy, not opt out and leave because no policy is set in stone
        forever."
        - DPM Lee Hsien Loong praising J.B. Jeyaratnam as an example of
        a "stayer", Straits Times, Oct 3 2002.

        The Reality

        "Look, Jeyaretnam can't win the infighting. I'll tell you why. WE are
        in charge. Every government ministry and department is under our
        control...I will make him crawl on his bended knees, and beg for
        mercy."
        - Lee Kuan Yew on JB Jeyaratnam, 1981, as related by ex-President
        Devan Nair in this article

        During a 1986 inquiry into whether he had violated the Parliamentary
        Privilege Act by questioning the integrity of judges, Jeyaretnam
        asked Lee, "So you think I have to be destroyed?" Lee
        replied, "Politically, yes."

        --------------------------------------------------------------

        ONE FAMILY?

        The Rhetoric

        "We all are one family."
        - PM Goh Chok Tong, August 9, 2001

        The Reality

        Between 1998 and 1999, the average household monthly income of the
        poorest 10 percent of the population decreased by nearly 50 percent
        from $258 to $133. In the same period, the incomes of the richest 10
        percent increased by 2.6 percent from $15,053 to $15,451.

        The following year, the average household income of the poorest 10
        percent fell by another 54 percent from $133 a month to $61. In the
        same period, the incomes of the richest 10 percent increased by
        another 8.8 percent.

        ---------------------------------------------------------

        CHU MEI-FENG AND LEE KUAN YEW

        The Rhetoric

        "I believe we've got a responsible press. They are not ashamed of
        what they are doing.."
        - Mr Lee Kuan Yew on the press in Singapore.

        The Reality

        "Mediacorp TV has been fined $10,000 for airing "sexually suggestive
        and offensive" footage from the sex-scandal video of Taiwanese
        legislator Chu Mei-feng."
        - Straits Times, Feb 23 2002

        "Our dear opposition "rebel" Chee gets sued for defamation for asking
        about the 10-billion dollar loan, is denied the right to speak up in
        support of the Malays in the tudung issue, and gets only a few
        minutes to speak on TV. Instead the current Miss World Wh*** Chu Mei
        Feng got a whole half-hour slot on Channel U on Friday to highlight
        her arrival in Singapore AND WAS GIVEN THE RIGHT TO PERFORM on stage.
        What a joke Sillypore has turned out to be."
        - A (pissed-off) forumner on the Internet

        ----------------------------------------------------------------
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.