STR cover photo - Bishan

Legalised corruption is probably the theme that best sums up Singapore in 2017. Parliament was abused by the dictator Prime Minister to wrestle control of his father’s estate from his siblings, and the Presidential election was unceremoniously dropped from the disqualification of opponent candidates. Lee Hsien Loong also made his former private lawyer the new Attorney General, and launched a barrage of political persecution against his younger brother Lee Hsien Yang who was accused of fabricating the last will of Lee Kuan Yew. His nephew Li Shengwu now faces jail term for contempt of court, and the entire family had to impose self-exile at Hongkong and US. Singaporeans were treated to Korean drama scenes in Parliament with Lee Hsien Loong crying and making speeches about his deceased father and how sad he was from the family feud.

3 Workers’ Party MPs also now face a S$33 million lawsuit, which led to Opposition leader Low Thia Kiang announcing his early retirement. The biggest farce of them all in 2017 is probably the election of Halimah Yacob, a long-time ruling party subordinate of Lee Hsien Loong. The Indian Singaporean became a legitimate Malay through legalised corruptions, and the stammering bureaucrat was declared President after the PM-controlled Election Department disqualified her 2 opponent contestants.

Legal corruptions eroding the ethos of meritocracy and democracy aside, the year also saw the largest number of tax increases making the people pay for infrastructural upgrades to accommodate a 6.9 million population. From 30% water price hike to raising public transport fares by 4.2%, the dictatorship regime abused it’s incumbent status raising taxes knowing that the next election is still at least 2 years away. However, the worst is not over.

Come 2018, there will be a new Carbon Tax that will see ordinary HDB households see a S$3 monthly increase in their electricity bills. A new GST increase is also expected to be announced in March 2018 during the Budget. Public transport fares will also increase following the numerous fake transport statistics claiming that rail reliability increased “multi-folds”. As usual, the poor and elderly have been made scapegoats of the numerous tax increases with the government claiming that “tax increases helps the poor” and “tax increases are necessary to meet increasing healthcare costs from ageing population”. However when confronted, the government ministers were unable to produce a balance sheet justifying the increase in expenditures. Nor were there any offer to take voluntary pay cut to reduce “growing government expenditures”.

In 2018, Singaporeans are expected to be hit with more train breakdowns and new problems never surfaced before. 2017 saw two major life-threatening train incidents: a collision and flooding. Some commuters lost their teeths and broke their bones from the collision incident, but it is only a matter of time SMRT sees it’s first commuter death (two maintenance staff were already killed in 2016). SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan refused to accept responsibility over the state of public transport, the two had shamelessly blamed suppliers, programming, company culture, politics, weather, luck and literally anything except themselves. Despite intense public outcries calling for their resignation, the two corrupted leaders are however untouchable because they are within the trusted inner circle of Lee Hsien Loong’s cronyism.

2018 is going to be a bad year, and it will only get better in the election year of 2020. Until then, Singaporeans are best reading Straits Times to assuage their discomfort. The government in recent months has been churning out a lot of propaganda material for the public to digest, the general public can at least gets a false sense of security reading them.

Reading States Times Review is as painful for readers as so for myself writing them. If you have been following STR, thank you. I do not benefit a single cent from writing this website and I can’t return to Singapore without becoming another Roy Ngerng or Ai Takagi. It is a price I gladly paid for my country because I always believe Singapore needs an independent news source. I am very well settled in Sydney and I am expecting a daughter next month. I may no longer write as often anymore, but my thoughts will always be with Singapore.

Happy New Year Singaporeans.

Alex Tan
STR Editor