Censorship: What is Freenet?

“I worry about my child and the Internet all the time, even though she’s too young to have logged on yet. Here’s what I worry about. I worry that 10 or 15 years from now, she will come to me and say ‘Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?'”

–Mike Godwin, Electronic Frontier Foundation

What is Freenet?

Freenet is free software which lets you publish and obtain information on the Internet without fear of censorship. To achieve this freedom, the network is entirely decentralized and publishers and consumers of information are anonymous. Without anonymity there can never be true freedom of speech, and without decentralization the network will be vulnerable to attack.

Communications by Freenet nodes are encrypted and are “routed-through” other nodes to make it extremely difficult to determine who is requesting the information and what its content is.

Users contribute to the network by giving bandwidth and a portion of their hard drive (called the “data store”) for storing files. Unlike other peer-to-peer file sharing networks, Freenet does not let the user control what is stored in the data store. Instead, files are kept or deleted depending on how popular they are, with the least popular being discarded to make way for newer or more popular content. Files in the data store are encrypted to reduce the likelihood of prosecution by persons wishing to censor Freenet content.

The network can be used in a number of different ways and isn’t restricted to just sharing files like other peer-to-peer networks. It acts more like an Internet within an Internet. For example Freenet can be used for:

Publishing websites or ‘freesites’
Communicating via message boards
Content distribution

Unlike many cutting edge projects, Freenet long ago escaped the science lab, it has been downloaded by over 2 million users since the project started, and it is used for the distribution of censored information all over the world including countries such as China and the Middle East. Ideas and concepts pioneered in Freenet have had a significant impact in the academic world. Our 2000 paper “Freenet: A Distributed Anonymous Information Storage and Retrieval System” was the most cited computer science paper of 2000 according to Citeseer, and Freenet has also inspired papers in the worlds of law and philosophy. Ian Clarke, Freenet’s creator and project coordinator, was selected as one of the top 100 innovators of 2003 by MIT’s Technology Review magazine.

To Download Freenet…

NKF clarifies the money trail

he National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is now putting 38 cents out of every dollar donated into patients’ needs.

This comes after a KPMG report last week that said that the old NKF had merely spent 10 cents of this donation dollar on patient subsidies.

Still the new NKF management has clarified that the remaining 90 cents had not gone to waste.

News that the old NKF had spent only 10 cents out of every donation dollar to help kidney patients with dialysis costs had left over 1,900 donors so upset that they had stopped their monthly LifeDrops donations within the first week since the KPMG audit report was released.

And each day, some 20 donors called NKF asking for refunds of donations they made from years ago.

NKF chairman, Gerard Ee, said: “The 90 cents did not disappear. If you look at the figures, out of every $1, 10 cents went directly to dialysis treatment, 41 cents went to reserves. The bulk of the reserves we have, will directly go towards patient care.

“And there were other expenditure such as 25 cents went to fundraising in 2003, some of the money went to health screening…90 cents….they did not disappear, they just went to other applications.”

In the last 5 months since the new NKF Board and Management were roped in, the charity has reduced its overhead costs by $2.4 million.

And patients now get more subsidies out of each donated dollar – 38% instead of the 10% in 2003.

Also, the NKF plans to put less of the donated dollar into building up its reserves – 13% instead of the 41% in 2003.

So far the NKF has built up a healthy reserve of $256m, which gave it an investment income of $8m last year.

Going forward, the new NKF management says it’s working on a prudent budget.

It will stretch every dollar it gets from donations and investment income and then channel it back to benefit patients directly.

The new management’s efforts to return NKF to its original mission of helping kidney patients have not gone unnoticed.

The Pei Hwa Foundation has pledged $1.25 million to build a new dialysis centre in Ang Mo Kio.

Former big donor New Creation Church, which gave $2.6m to help build a dialysis centre in 2001, also made another $7,000 donation to NKF.

And the Singapore Food Industries (SFI) got over 120 of its staff to pledge monthly support to the new NKF.

Mr Liu Shih Shin, SFI’s director of corporate affairs, said: “By supporting, helping NKF, we’re really helping the kidney patients. Don’t penalise them for mistakes of the past by the management.”

NKF says it hopes to win back the 50,000 regular donors it lost when the NKF saga broke out in July. – CNA/ir

Channelnewsasia.com

Hooray! The Donors are saved! really. If I were a kidney patient, I’d still have to fork out majority of the expenditure from my own pocket. It makes a mockery of the word “charity” at this point.

To me, the core of the problem lies not with Durai, though everyone is so concerned with making him the scapegoat [so that NKF can escape the tar brush]. I disliked NKF’s aggressive fund-raising techniques from the beginning, while more needy charities were struggling. I still feel that kidney patients do not need so much money – not as much as cancer and AIDS patients. NKF does not even serve that many patients to justify hogging the donor pool.

The NKF needs to review itself from the bottom. They can stop sending those nicely adorned letters asking for more donations. They can stop spending millions on fund-raising shows. And of course, not to mention, gold taps.

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CPIB to conduct survey on public perception of corruption in Singapore

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) is conducting a survey on Singaporeans’ perception of corruption here.

It is the second such survey since 2002.

The survey will take place from 20 December to 27 January.

Letters have been sent out to some 1,000 Singaporeans informing them that the CPIB has commissioned a company to conduct house-to-house interviews.

The interviewees would be asked, amongst other questions, what they perceive is the level of corruption in Singapore.

In the 2002 survey, 60 per cent of Singaporeans said they were not willing to report graft.

But in light of the recent corporate scandals, how can Singaporeans be encouraged to come forward?

Dr Habibul Khondker, Associate Professor at National University of Singapore’s Sociology Department, said: “I think media can play a bigger role in arousing public interest, in arousing those civic responsibilities in the population, that you have a responsibility that you should not accept things that are not proper. If you see anything improper, you have every right to speak up as these events can be prevented from recurring.”

Dr Khondker said that with Singapore being consistently ranked by the transparency index as one of the least corrupt countries, this perception is not likely to change.

He added surveys like the one CPIB has commissioned are what the Berlin-based corruption watchdog relies on for its research.

Thirty questions will be asked in the CPIB survey.

Though the CPIB would not reveal what these questions are, the previous survey had included questions on what Singaporeans thought of the effectiveness of the corruption bureau itself.

Interviewees were also asked to suggest ways to fight corruption. – CNA/ir

Channelnewsasia.com

The one thing I like about this country: it is absolutely serious about corruption.

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IFEX issues worldwide alert on Judge Rajah’s comments

High court judge dismisses lawsuit charging government with suppressing free speech

Country/Topic: Singapore
Date: 23 December 2005
Source: Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
Person(s):
Target(s):
Type(s) of violation(s): legal action
Urgency: Threat

(SEAPA/IFEX) – The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) has expressed alarm over the recent ruling by a Singaporean High Court judge to dismiss a lawsuit which charged the country’s public institutions with trampling the rights of their citizens to free assembly and free speech.

SEAPA is concerned that “this ruling will have implications for the rights of Singaporean citizens to free assembly and free speech, as the ruling signals that Singaporean citizens cannot express their concerns over the government and its policies even through peaceful protest, though this right is supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution,” SEAPA noted.

According to the opposition Social Democratic Party’s E-newsletter of 21 December, Judge V. K. Rajah said in the ruling, delivered two weeks earlier, that Singaporean citizens cannot stage public protests because these undermine “the singularly stable and upright stature Singapore has managed to uphold.”

In dismissing the case, Judge Rajah described the protest as “incendiary,” and stated that it amounted “to a grave attack on the financial integrity of key public institutions.” The judge further concluded that Singaporean citizens would be held accountable and personally responsible by the state for their actions: “In Singapore, Parliament has, through legislation, placed a premium on public order, accountability and personal responsibility.”

The decision was made after four protesters sued the minister for Home Affairs and the commissioner of police for unlawfully dispersing their peaceful protest in August 2005, held outside a government building in downtown Singapore. The four had argued that they had the right to stage the protest under the Constitution, which allows a group of four people or fewer to assemble in public. But the police sent the anti-riot squad to disperse the four protesters.

According to the SDP newsletter, the peaceful protest, with the words “CPF, NKF, HDB, GIC: Be transparent now!” painted on the four protesters’ t-shirts, urged the government to be transparent and accountable in its handling of public funds in the wake of a scandal that involved the National Kidney Foundation.

The SDP said the foundation was reportedly found to have spent donated money on luxury items like gold taps and expensive cars, and paid the CEO $600,000 (approx. US $400,000) in annual salary. But Mrs. Goh Chok Tong, wife of Singapore’s former prime minister Goh Chok Tong, who was patron of the foundation, said the CEO’s salary was justified as the amount was “peanuts.”

According to SDP, the judge’s decision confirms that the judiciary has no interest in protecting the democratic rights of the people, who are now at the complete mercy of the dictatorial Singaporean government.

SEAPA stated its belief “that to legitimise Singapore’s claim to be a country of world-class public governance, the government and the judiciary should first protect the right of citizens to address their concerns about public institutions, and that these authorities should not regard peaceful protest as a public nuisance.”

“The rights of the citizens to address their concerns over the government policies through public protest is to be upheld as a freedom enjoyed by civilised and open communities all over the world,” SEAPA said.

Hung At Dawn


Book review: Hung At Dawn
Charles Tan
27 Dec 05

Author: M Ravi
Publisher: Orion Books

“Is he still maintaining that an innocent man can be hanged because of procedure?”
“Yes, the answer is yes.”

Hung at Dawn is an account of three death penalty cases in Singapore detailing exposing the inadequacies of police investigations, courtroom trials and the clemency pleas that prefers to err on the side of hanging convicts.

The book cover resembles one of those sensational best-selling Singapore ghost stories series, coated in black with big, red imposing fonts and a spine-chilling title. The book is, however, far from being fictional. The stories are not fairy tales but real-life events.

The book starts with the arrest, investigation and trial of Vignes Mourthi and his close friend, Moorthy Angappan. It reads like a detective novel which, unfortunately, does not have a satisfactory ending that we would have liked to see.

The books main character, R Martin, a defense lawyer, who took on Vignes Mourthi case last-minute and worked on a pro bono basis, filed for a criminal motion, and tried to put to pieces surrounding the case together to show there might have been the miscarriage of justice.

One controversy surrounded an informer by the name of Tahir who had set up a sting operation which led to the arrest of Vignes. In the trail itself, Tahir was not produced as the prosecution’s witness. Another point involved an undated and dubious statement from the arresting officer’s pocketbook that described how Vignes had boasted about the quality of the drugs he was carrying.

The book also describes how Martin submitted pleas for clemency to the president, in the hope of saving the accused from the gallows. Unfortunately, they did not manage to avert the execution.

Another inmate on death row, Shanmugam s/o Murugesu, was convicted in a much simpler case. The million-dollar question revolved around the amount of drugs he was caught with, which he claimed, was more than what he agreed to smuggle. Unlike Vignes’ case, R Martin and friends wised up and campaigned for Shanmugam by holding vigils and concerts to raise awareness about the issue.

The third death penalty case which generated the most controversy involved Ngyuen Van Tuong, a Vietnamese-Australian. The matter was, however, not related in greater detail because it occurred at about the time the book went to press. Press release and statements, however, highlighted the unfairness of the laws and the system.

By using side-box inserts to provide background information on the mandatory death penalty in Singapore as well as the history and cruel facts of hanging, author M Ravi has written a convincing book on why Singaporeans need to be aware of the controversies surrounding the death penalty in Singapore. For too long, it has remained a non-issue. It is time to break the silence.

Do a politically courageous deed this festive season. Buy, read, and share this book as a gift for your friends and family. Spread the word.

Hung At Dawn is available in major bookstores Singapore. It will also be launched in Malaysia and Australia.

Exorcising The Ghosts of NKF

From: (Mr) Law Sin Ling
27 December 2005
Exorcising The Ghosts of NKF

Sg_Review

Exorcising The Ghosts of NKF

It was perhaps a wild coincidence that the KPMG report was released to the public less than 5 days before a very busy festive season where most are expected to be preoccupied with gifts and vacation, thus diluting the impact from the shocking revelation.

It was perhaps an equally wild coincidence that the report was released to the public when the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was away on holiday, and was hence not able to make a statement with regard to the sordid affair.

But it was indubitably NOT a coincidence that T.T. Durai and the ex-Board of NKF will become the public whipping boy fortheir “questionable practices” and for “not fulfilling their duties”.

Failure to adequately prosecute the above mentioned will send a clear unambiguous signal to the public that monetary corruption through self-enrichment is espoused by the government, and that such an act will only at best draw rhetorical censure to pacify the mental rage tormenting the psyche of sensible people.

Putting Durai and the board under chains and leaving them to the talons of the legal eagles will be a breeze for a government used to employing the judiciary to advance their ambitions.

But even upon this apparent bald mountain of accountability drag chains bound to ghosts of undying grievances.

(1) The Ghost of Convenient Scapegoat

After Durai and his cohorts, the external auditor for NKF from 1988 to 2004, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), became the choice quarry of the Health Minister.

“I appreciate the challenge of auditing an organization which we now know was completely dominated by its CEO. If he deliberately set out to mislead, it would take some efforts to uncover the truth. But it is not impossible and hence my disappointment with the former NKF auditors.”

And to be sure his message to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) was not lost in transition, he added that,

“I’m sure their regulator will be looking at how they want to follow up from here.”

ACRA wasted no time in responding that it “will look into the matter and take appropriate action if necessary”.

Slaughtering PwC might seem like a logical option, though cooler heads should prevail.

Issues relating to corporate governance (salary, promotions, and purchases) had been broached from since 1999 right up to 2002 by Arthur Andersen without resolution. And the defunct auditing house, together with PwC, had both failed to present any evidence of contravention within NKF to the public.

And a frail effort by KPMG in 2004 had likewise fallen flat without success. Is it then fair to attribute PwC with a blame that seemingly afflicts its peers in the fraternity?

PwC had done a terrible job in so far as unearthing accounting irregularities were concerned. But PwC, unlike KPMG in 2005, did not have the far-reaching mandate the latter had to permit it to conduct its own invasive “Operation Crystal” where unlimited authority was given to seal offices and deny access of sensitive data in computers to the staff of NKF pending investigation.

The difference between PwC and KPMG 2005 is a comparison between routine arithmetic auditing and purposeful investigative auditing.

The integrity of the entire accounting fraternity now rests on the ability of the State to exercise justice on those whose failure had repercussed on the ability of the regulatory agencies (who depends in large part on auditors’ report) to effectively discharge their duty to uphold the trust between the NKF, the government, and the public.

And the auditors are not the only ones implicated in the failure of PwC, for hindrance comes in many forms and at many State levels.

The NKF incident will not destroy PwC as clinically as Enron (US) had on Arthur Anderson. But this is an eventuality which is beyond the concern of the State. Public interest must always precede business priority. And this will present a stern test for a government accustomed to tooting about its world-admired discipline in exacting a high standard of corporate accountability and governance, but who had very few spectacular opportunities to convincingly vindicate the claim.

Passing off the chance will severely dent the public confidence in the ability of auditors in Singapore to effectively uncover and publicly open the book on financial chicanery in private (such as NKF) and public institutions (such as Temasek and CPF).

The government will have to be mindful of the message it would otherwise send. And focussing on PwC alone is a bad start.

(2) The Ghost of Cowering Redemption
The patron of NKF was Mdm Tan Choo Leng, better known in Singapore as the wife of ex-premier and current Senior Minister (SM) Goh Chok Tong. When the NKF scandal first came into official light in a high-profile defamation trial in July 2005, she defiled her up to then immaculate respectability with the immortalising denigration against the donating public that,”For a person who runs a million-dollar charitable organisation, $600,000 (in annual salary for Durai) is PEANUTS as it (NKF) has a few hundred millions in reserves.” The furore over what is overwhelmingly acknowledged as a demonstration of indecent arrogance and insensitivity from a member of the high-society with a close relation to a high-ranking member of the ruling elite sustained at a simmer.

Mrs Goh was to bring the seething emotion to a second climax when she defended her ignorance (up to the trial in July) of Durai’s remunerations, and that not being “a member of the NKF Board or its Executive Committee”, she “no authority to endorse the salary paid to Mr Durai.”

Her choice of words, more measured than the careless insult in July, was equally controversial.

Having offered her patronage to a high-profile organisation for a consecutive number of years, it is difficult to be convinced that she could not have an iota of knowledge or suspicion, through direct communication or through the benefits of the grapevine, of the outrage brewing within NKF.

As a distinguished lawyer, her job as a senior consultant in the property and real estate requires an extensive knowledge on matters of finance. It is not unreasonable to deduce that she would have acquired the professional curiosity to read the financial statements of NKF, and actively pursue information on any salient points pertaining to the financial activities of the organisation. Besides, if $600,000 is “peanuts” under her measurement, certainly even 5 times the amount would struggle to be mere `potato chips’, and would not suffice to raise an alarm.

The lack of executive power does not equate to a moral inertia. A greater sin would have been committed if she had allowed herself to be convinced of the necessity of the obscene remuneration, and had then decided to condone it by virtue of its perceived relative numerical insignificance.

Therefore, knowing a problem and shutting an eye to it is a form of endorsement. And the patron will need to satisfy the public demand to answer crucial questions on the extent of her knowledge.

And her trouble does not stop there. The Health Minister defended her ostensible oversight with the self-applicable alibi that patrons are simply “supporting the cause by lending their patronage”, and that the patrons “know (they) are being made use of as a symbol for people to support.”

Mrs Goh’s role as a patron surpassed the basic notion of a title conferred on a regular and generous donor to the charity. As the reputed figurehead at the bow of NKF, the confidence exuded performed a pivoting role in securing the continual faith of donors.

But a renowned public figure cannot jolly lend a name to a charity cause (be it NKF or some religious temples) without accepting both the glory and the grime as a complete package.

With the disclosure that the public money drawn from good faith had been unceremoniously drained into the coffer of thieves, the patron had been consequently transformed from an emblematic paragon to an instrument of mass deceit.

The patron had lent her image to NKF at the heights of the latter’s popularity. The derived mutual benefits between the patron and NKF would have also allowed her spouse, the ex-Prime Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong, to bask in a certain degree of political aura.

Even at the height of the defamation trial, she had openly proclaimed her “complete trust in the NKF and Mr Durai”.

Now, the patron must absorb the ignominious condemnation. She cannot rightfully be exculpated of any eventual lapse in judgement as she had had the moral responsibility to exercise as much (if not more) interest in the deeper nature of the beneficiary (NKF) as ordinary solicited members of the public should.

It is morally indefensible to absolve the patron at a time when the public trust so built up is broken with the misappropriation of millions in public fund.

In glory, she led the charge to gain donor confidence. In shame, she must take up the flag and once again lead the charge to recover the loot, regain public trust, and salvage the collateral damage done to the Senior Minister and to the other institutions to which she equally lends her person as a beacon of trust.

The attempt by the Health Minister to shoo her off into silent retreat away from further participation will merely serve to underscore once again the dishonourable habit of the government to stage a legal and moral Houdini on those who are most in need to step out.

(3) The Ghost of Governmental Houdini

And talking about legal and moral Houdini, one man and his fumbles cannot be permitted to slip into oblivion.

Mr Lim Hng Kiang was the Health Minister between June 1999 and August 2003. The period was also the most tumultuous years in the history of NKF prior to the exposé.

In 1999, the Ministry of Health (MOH) had smelled a rat over NKF’s need to amass excessive funds for what was a rather conservative base of about 1500 patients.

By 2001, the regulator of charities the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) had joined in the fray with their explicit statement of deeper concerns over issues which were to be exposed by KPMG. And even the Commissioner of Charities was kept preoccupied.

Those portentous signals culminated in the drastic reduction in the period (from 5 years to 3 months) granted to NKF as an Institution of a Public Character (IPC) with an accorded right to collect tax-exempt donations. A subsequent dispute with NKF and Durai ended with the rescission of NKF’s ability to even issue tax-exemption receipts to donors.

In a show of complete affront to logic and good-sense, MOH under Lim Hng Kiang granted NKF an IPC status of 3 years, a veritable licence to plunder.

Mr Khaw (Health Minster) explained that “The regulators collectively assessed and FOUND NOTHING WHICH WOULD LEAD TO THE CONCLUSION that the NKF’s financial track record and fund management track record were less than satisfactory, and would justify the removal of its Institution of Public Character (IPC) status.”

This is equivalent to stating that `The regulators found something but could not draw a satisfactory conclusion on any irregularities in NKF’.

KPMG stated that “The wasted opportunity to commence any investigation was most unfortunate since some of the matters dealt with in this report could perhaps have been either prevented or addressed some four years earlier.”

A failure by an elected leader of the State to nip a visible problem at its nascent stage of development is a scandalous felony against the people and the State. And for Lim Hng Kiang, this was not an isolated oversight. He has amassed an impressive record for fumbling on problems like SARS, for ignoring the growing problems in hospitals, and regrettably NKF.

Good governance entails both the recognition of collective blame, and a keen comprehension that it is wiser to remove a persistently blemishing flaw than to allow the latter to do further harm in some other capacity to the effort of the collective whole.

“Collective responsibility” (advocated by the government of Lee Hsien Loong) is only meaningful if majority in the government was aware of the growing trouble but chose to sit on its hand and look away. However, it is more likely that the members of the government had acted in accordance with what was reported by Lim Hng Kiang on the situation then, and had acted under his discretion.

A convenient explanation from the current Health Minister is that Lim Hng Kiang, like himself and the public, was “misled”. But Mr Khaw risk having his credibility grated.

By the time the MOH had had to decide on the IPC status for NKF, the needle was palpitating at the red warning scale.

In 1998, a former aero-modelling instructor Piragasam Singaravelu was sued for libel for implicating Durai of abuse of public funds (Durai flew first-class on Singapore Airlines). The year before, a former NKF volunteer Archie Ong was likewise sued for making a similar remark on how “NKF squandered monies” and that Durai “jets here and there in first class.”

And throughout the period from 1997 to 2001, words from numerous sources had travelled far and wide, finally igniting the attention of NCSS.

It is not an exaggeration to conclude that Lim Hng Kiang could have either seriously downplayed the situation, or cover up the affair all together. At any rate, the ex-Health Minister would have been guilty of dishonesty to the government, undermining the government of the people, and disloyalty to the people he had been elected to service.

To continue to shield his individual responsibility behind the thicket of “collective responsibility” is to court distrust and scorn from the public and the international community. And that does not augur well for a country dependent on foreign investments built on trust and confidence.

Not acting judicially will harm the moral integrity of the people of the Nation by throwing it into disrepute. And this smearing of the good name of Singaporeans through governmental misrule is by no means an accorded mandate from the people.

And rotating the guilty Minister out of public sight and thought is tantamount to an insincere betrayal of the ethics of accountability which is one of the pillars of any good and honest government.

But if no one will stand out and step down, then the entire body of men in the government is implicated. It is hard to justify killing an entire body to remedy a tumour on the arm. Not for a man who up to 2004 held the steadfast conviction as Second Minister of Finance that with 56 per cent of its money on beneficiaries (which we know is untrue), NKF is on “quite a sound record.”

(Conclusion) The Ghost of Future Foreboding

The final examination come back to the Health Minister Mr Khaw’s delicate position that just about everyone has been a victim “misled” by circumstances which escaped even authorities with keener senses. As “silly” as he might admit he was, he should refrain from further duping the public with aesthetic words lest the words bite the tongue which utters them.

“Misled” has in this context a common synonym called “deceived”. And deceiving the government and the public at such a huge magnitude comes very close to an act of deliberate betrayal (of trust). And that is treason.

It is also silly to claim to be “misled” if one has at his disposal the authority to summon a network of State resources to act upon rapidly surfacing signs of misdeeds involving massive misuse of public funds and a potentially damaging breach of government-endorsed trust.

And it is criminal to quote “misled” as an umbrella for certain individuals to evade just accountability.

The warning from Mr Khaw, ironically,

“We now know that we have been misled. Perhaps, we were coloured by our deeply-held and positive view of the original NKF under Prof Khoo Oon Teck (founder in 1969)”, contains a stark warning that infatuation with the nostalgic glories and achievements of a perpetual institution can blind man to the corroding rot eating away the founding core of virtues.

Contrary to what PM Lee Hsien Loong said in July that NKF should “start from scratch” and urged Singaporeans to “look ahead”, it is about time that the nation understands that rebuilding cannot be achieved on ruins beneath which skeletons of the unresolved past remained buried.

(Mr) Law Sin Ling

The political parallels to the NKF scandal

From Yawning Bread

The political parallels to the NKF scandal

Some observers have sensed nervousness on the part of the government over the fallout from the scandal at the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). One said to me that the expected general elections will not be called until the matter is put to bed. So far, he’s been proven right, for while many expected elections in December, it hasn’t come about.

I can see five aspects of the NKF scandal that parallels features of Singapore’s political system, and now that the systemic failings of the NKF are being brought to public attention in such an ignominious fashion, they may cause longer-term complications for the ruling party. They are:

The use of defamation suits
Durai’s high salary and perks
Incompetence in government
Oversight of executives
Dollars and cents as the criterion of success

to continue…