No, this exchange did not occur in a Hollywood movie, a la The Devil’s Advocate. Instead, it came during the cross-examination of Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong by opposition politician Chee Soon Juan in a defamation suit brought on by the Lees for an allegedly defamatory article published in SDP’s publication “Demokrat” in April 2006. Such a farce can only happen in Singapore’s kangaroo court.
Chee Soon Juan (to Lee Hsien Loong): Would you refer to pg 192 of your AEIC, para 3 and read it to us.
Lee Hsien Loong starts reading. Just before he gets to the words he uttered about fixing the opposition and buying over his supporters, Mr Davinder Singh stands up.
Davinder Singh: Objection, Your Honour.
Judge Belinda Ang: I’ll read it.
Chee: Mr Lee, you read it.
Judge: Dr Chee please tell us the relevance.
Chee: This paragraph will show it’s true of him –
Judge Move on, the question is disallowed.
Chee: He has used words like “fix” and “buy votes”. He’s here to tell me that his reputation is based on so much. I’m here to demolish it, when he buys votes –
Chee: Let it be recorded then. Mr Lee, come out and don’t hide behind your counsel. You have every opportunity to answer the questions. You allow your counsel to cover –
Singh: Objection, Your Honour.
Judge: Court has taken note of Dr Chee’s conduct.
Chee: Mr Lee, please refer to pg 39 of your AEIC sub-heading “lack of transparency.” Do you agree with the last line and last paragraph that the GIC operates in secrecy?
Singh: Objection. Dr Chee is seeking to reopen the issue. This article relates to the offending words. The meaning has been taken to be false. The question of liability is done.
Chee: Turn then to pg 75 of your AEIC, bottom of the page. Is the Government transparent? Do you agree with this statement?
Singh: I object.
Chee: Do you believe the funds belongs to the people?
Chee: Same line and reason, that he is the Prime Minister and takes pride in the integrity –
Singh: The question is on the matter of Assesment of Damages –
Judge: Move on, Dr Chee.
Chee: You are the Deputy or the Vice Chairman of the GIC?
Chee: I want to establish that he says his reputation is sterling –
Singh: My client didn’t say that.
Chee: How and where you have invested the GIC funds?
Judge: Move on.
Chee: Were you aware of the scandal at NKF –
Singh: Relevancy? NKF is a matter of liability.
Judge: Dr Chee, irrelevant.
Chee: Then you agree that T T Durai’s salary was excessive?
Chee: Do you agree the salary –
Singh: Your Honour, my client was not aware of the NKF scandal –
Chee: If T T Durai had a summary judgement –
Chee: Do you agree that the openness of the Government –
Chee: I disagree as the witness was a Prime Minister during the period and argued in Parliament –
Singh: Maybe the Health Ministry was misled and my client did not know. The Government did proceed to investigate the matter.
Chee: The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health made comments and continued leading the people to donate to the NKF. You were the Prime Minister –
Chee: Did you know the warning signals –
Chee: These were raised in Parliament and whether he was sleeping like some of his colleagues –
Singh: That is not necessary and insulting –
Judge: Dr Chee, move on.
Singh: I want to remind Dr Chee of the injunction against repeating –
Chee: Do you agree if the salary is too much?
Chee: Do you think that your Ministers spend too much –
Chee: I put to you that the PAP is bent on greed and power.
Chee Refer to pg 9 of your AEIC. Is the information on the cost of labour of building HDB flats available?
Chee: Is information on the cost of material of building HDB flats available?
Chee: Do you agree that the HDB is operating in secrecy?