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Inside scoop on Singapore politics: Fact or Fiction?

April 3, 2010 by Moderator
Filed under Opinion

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Revised at 6pm with classified information deleted

Editor’s note: Below is a verbatim compilation of postings made by one of our readers “Singaporeans Unite” in relation to one of our other article titled “Sheng Siong rejects appeals from stallholders to scrap rental hike and seeks their “understanding”” located at

It is in our opinion that considering the vast information and at times, allegations contained in this reader’s posting, another independant thread be created for other learned readers to concur or dispute or correct the information presented.

Readers are advised to excercise caution and diligence when digesting information presented over the internet.

Hi fellas. Here are some inside scoops of past events, the real news that were not reported in the ST :

a) In the early ’90s (1990/1991) there was a very short report in the ST that a horse had ran amok from the stables of the Singapore Polo Club and onto the main Thomson Road where it was run down by a vehicle (I think the put animal was later put down to sleep). That was it, one or two paras and the ST went to sleep. What was not reported was on the why and the what which made the horse galloped out in wild frenzy.

The inside scoop is that a helicopter carrying the Sultan of Johore had entered Singapore airspace and landed at the polo club without first obtaining flight clearance from our authorities (the Sultan comes to Singapore frequently for his R & R activities). At that time, LHL, the acting PM (GCT was, I believe, on an overseas mission) ordered the helicopter off the field as it was infringing on our sovereignty. The Reserve Police were despatched to enforce this action, whereupon the Sultan had his aerial plaything headed home, suffering a slight to his face.

A couple of weeks later, off Pulau Tioman (Johore) the Malaysian Marine Police rounded up several of our fishing enthusiasts who had been on their craft fishing in and outside Malaysian territorial waters. All those who had passports with them were allowed to return home. Those without their pp were detained (there were quite a few because they were in international waters). At the outer reach, the Malaysian police crafts were chasing a yatch which was racing away (in international waters) but was finally caught. the yatch had belonged to one of LKY’s relative (a member of the Cheng family of Wing Tai group). The Malaysian policemen could not accept the “coffee money” that was offered them citing the reason that it was a political tit-for-tat, with orders coming from the top (they had waited patiently for some days to spring the dragnet as soon as news of LKY’s relative being in the area was confirmed). The matter was then resolved through political channels. All these the ST kept mum and Singaporeans were kept in the dark.

b) Immediately after the October 1973 Yom Kippur war between the Israelis and the Arabs (particularly Egypt), Singapore was involved in a piece of espionage activity. One of our patrol vessels from the Maritime Command (predecessor of our Republic of Singapore Navy) was sent to the Mediterranean area (Haifa, Israel) to collect a secret cargo which was then brought back to Singapore, whereupon it was transferred over to US authorities. It was a CIA operation involving the transfer of a captured Russian jet fighter, the MIG-23, which was dismantled into several crates and brought to US through Singapore. The jet was, at that time, one of the latest and advanced in technology for its era. With Russian eavesdropper covering every move of the Isrealis the mission had to be accomplished through a third party.

This was a time when the cold war spy vs counter-spy thing was lived through in real life and not merely Hollywood stuff. In fact, a Singaporean by the name of Amos Dawe, the Managing Director of the Mosbert Group, had been a Russian agent. Moscow Narodny Bank, Singapore Branch, had given him a $50m credit line which he used to buy over 2 US banks (in the States) on behalf of the Russians, who had wanted access to some vital information on state secrets which the banks had access to. He was also active in his foray in Hong Kong. At the commercial level, he was later sued for bankruptcy in HK and Singapore, while in the States he faced indictment by the Grand Jury.


This story must be told to the awakening Singaporean electorate.

In the late ’70s and early ’80s the policy of LKY was to recruit all the top scholars and have them put into key management positions in the civil service, statutory boards, and GLCs. The NTUC, being the most crucial weapon controlled by the PAP, was no exception.

This central congress of labour unions commanded a total workforce of almost 800,000 workers, which meant that it was responsible for translating 800,000 votes for the PAP during each election time. And the man holding this trump card, the Secretary-General of the NTUC, was a very very important VIP to the party in power. At that time, Devan Nair was that man. He had been arrested and thrown into jail under the ISA by the British together with the others (the so called “communist” elements of the PAP, the Fajar generation). But LKY struck a deal with him and pulled him out from the doldrums and into the pedestal of political power again as Sec-Gen of NTUC. The reason was that DN all along, even before his incarceration, had a strong political voter base in the union members and LKY sought to use him as a proxy. Their alliance at first was tenable and they lived together in “one house two homes”.

During this period, DN was constantly talking about “socialism that works”, and the political doctrine of socialism seemed to prevail in the air. Singapore’s political system was then even hailed as democratic socialism, whatever that means (democracy and socialism in their base form can never be reconciled as their doctrines are tangent to each other). This liberal vocal output of DN was still tolerable within LKY’s barometer. However, when DN continued his slant of promoting democracy as being socialist in nature, LKY could see that, if left unchecked, the phoenix of the Fajar generation would have a fair chance of arising from the ashes in time to come. He had to act quick to remove a potential time bomb. But he couldn’t just remove DN – he was sitting on 800,000 votes and had the allegiance of practically all the subsidiary union bosses.

So he used a Machiavellan philosophy – elevate him to high office to earn his trust while plotting his downfall. By taking him out from the NTUC and appointing him as President of Singapore, he had appeased all his union bosses and members that their great leader had been elevated to the highest political office in the land. But they were still in their stupor to even realise that DN had moved from a position controlling a power base to one that is nominal in nature with no political power or control. Only the name President of Singapore was high sounding, and with it a tax free income (the only public office in Singapore with an income that is tax exempt).

The dice had been cast and the chips already rolling. LKY knew that DN was an alchoholic since his early union days. This has been common knowledge to his neighbours living in the Chestnut Drive area. And this was the weapon LKY can use to destroy him. But as the NTUC boss, this weakness could not be exploited as a weapon. Its tenacity as a weapon of destruction would be most expedient to use when he was holding a very high public office, one which had to maintain very high social decorum. Being the President of the country was the best way to use alcoholism to destroy him personally, and politically.

The catalyst came when DN, as the President of the people, became untenable when he began to adopt personal politics in his persoanlity disagreement with LKY, and they grew more apart each passing month.

Some time just before his downfall, DN gave a speech at one of the functions which included his call to all those aggrieved parties to sue government doctors if they have been found to be negligent. Within days Dr Tony Tan had to come out immediately to diffuse the situation by explaining to the public that the president had meant some other thing, etc, and not actually sueing government doctors per se. When DN gave that speech, although he did not mentioned any names, he was referring to a Dr Lee at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, who through a negligent act conducted by her had resulted in the unnecessary loss of life of one of the patients. That doctor was not trained as a surgeon but had been involved in a simple operation of a patient but due to inexperience, had negligently caused infection to set in the wounded area of he patient which became sceptic. A second susbsequent rescue operation by an experienced surgeon was conducted but it was too late and the patient died.

Before DN let more cats out from the bag about LKY and his dirty baggages, LKY had to remove him from office without any further delay. And so it started, with rumours from the Istana filling the grapevine that DN had secretly wore a wig and stolen out at night from the Istana to make secret calls to promiscuous woman, etc. This culminated in the grand rumour that he had grabbed and fondled some women when he was visiting and was a guest at a long house in Sarawak. All these were baseless and unfounded, and were the work of the Istana Mafia.

That was how DN was publicly disgraced and forced to retire as President. He had no more power base left as the NTUC had by that time been strongly rooted in its support and allegiance to LKY’s goodie boy at that time, Ong Teng Cheong (who was actually a very nice chap in person).

Next coming up …how Lim Chee Onn was forced to be removed as Secretary-General of NTUC and replaced by Ong Teng Cheong.