In the latest international survey conducted by Freedom House, Singapore is about to fail the free society test with only a score of 52 out of 100. Every category – freedom of expression, political rights and civil liberties – failed at 4/7 (with 1 being the most free while 7 being the least free).
The result is however not a surprise following the power consolidation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. A writer, youtuber, and even a Harvard professor-to-be (his nephew Li Shengwu) have been respectively ordered to pay S$150,000 in defamation, jailed and persecuted on perverted contempt of court charges.
Even his brother, Lee Hsien Yang, was accused of doctoring his late father’s will, and the younger Lee imposed a self-exile in Hong Kong. The family tussle over Lee Kuan Yew’s will was even publicly raised in Parliament to force the ruling party-majority government to represent Lee Hsien Loong’s interests.
Aside from political foul playing by Lee Hsien Loong, his dictatorship now wants to impose greater media censorship. A Select Committee has been set up, led by his second-in-command Law Minister K Shanmugam.
In February, Law Minister K Shanmugam enacted new laws to give himself unlimited powers to detain anyone without trial. The judiciary will not be able to interfere with the minister’s power.
Last month, the unpopular Prime Minister resisted calls to retire and said he “needed a bit more time”. Senior party members like Goh Chok Tong who urged him were scolded and told to keep quiet. The dictator is unhappy and disappointed that he is not as loved by the people like his father was. Sources close with the Prime Minister said that he is looking to elevate his official position higher than that of his father’s “Mentor Minister” position upon retirement, so his son, Li Hongyi, can “take over the baton” from the next puppet Prime Minister like his father did with Goh Chok Tong.