Friday, 27 December 2013

The Unseen Singapore #17 Whistle Blower Series: Mohamed Jufrie Bin Mahmood aka Singapore's Edward Snowden

On Christmas day, Edward Snowden the now infamous ex-NSA contractor came out of the shadows and declared "mission accomplish"!

Snowden claims to have leaked top NSA secrets so that the American people can have a say in how they are governed and is satisfied that the mission was already accomplished. His unprecedented leaks caused a diplomatic furor worldwide and led to numerous internal reforms within the NSA.

In his own words, "I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA."

It got us at The Unseen Singapore curious since civil servants and national servicemen alike are bounded by the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and are required to guard our nations' secrets stridently. Do we have a Singaporean version of Edward Snowden in our short but yet colourful history?

After much research, the most prominent and apt case study was that of Mohamed Jufrie Bin Mahmood the current Chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

SDP as Singaporeans know is the bastion of liberal democracy in Singapore and it was a startling revelation that its current Chairman was formerly from the infamous Internal Security Department (ISD).

However in 1979, Mohamed Jufrie Bin Mahmood was charged under the the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for divulging ISD operational secrets. For his act, Mohamed Jufrie served 9 months jail and till today, nobody knows the contents supposedly divulged by Mohamed Jufrie Bin Mahmood.

Whether it was a trumped up charge to discredit Jufrie who was openly critical of the Singapore Government or a genuine mis-step by Mohamed Jufrie, it is refreshing to know that brave whistle blowers in the mould of Edward Snowden exists in Singapore.

Mohamed Jufrie may not have gained the public's adoration for his brave resistance against Singapore's Secret Police but he has definitely proven his mettle and is most definitely a man ahead of his time, in fact 34 years ahead of Edward Snowden.

Friday, 13 December 2013

The Unseen Singapore #16 PAP MP Series: Lee Kuan Yew - Internal Security Act

Singaporeans are familiar with the Internal Security Act, it is the law which gives the Government of the day broad powers to detain any individual without open trial. Essentially, if someone is deemed a security threat to the country, the government has the right to throw him in jail and lock him away indefinitely. These powers if left unchecked can lead to abuses and many are concerned with it being immorally used against the government's political opponents. 

These allegations of abuse were most evident in 1963 Operation Coldstore and 1987 Operation Spectrum when the ISA was invoked to arrest numerous individuals on grounds of Communism and Marxism. Ever since those controversial and highly debatable events, the ISA has been used in recent years against the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network in Singapore. 

Despite the perceived "legitimate" usage of the Internal Security Act against these terrorist elements, The  Unseen Singapore would like to re-emphasize the dangers of investing such unregulated powers into any authority. What better way to demonstrate this than to take point from Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. 

Going back to 1959, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's own words epitomized the very dangers of such abuse. In order to push for Singapore's merger into the Federation, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew brazenly threatened any journalists who wrote anything that could "sour up or strain relations between the Federation and Singapore". 

He proclaimed that any such journalist would "go in for subversion ... and will be taken in under the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance (Internal Security Act)" and that he would "put him in and keep him in"! In order to further his own political agenda, Lee Kuan Yew was willing to abuse the ISA and clamp down on the concept of the Free Press. 

Such is the dangers of the Internal Security Act and Singaporeans must understand its dangers and stand up for their own civil liberties. 


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Unseen Singapore #15 CSI Series: SPH Reporter Meredith Woo

On 26 November 2013, Asia One published a defamatory article alleging that NSP politician Nicole Seah uploaded a photo of herself with a man believed to be married.

This turned out to be untruths spread by MSM reporter Meredith Woo whose email is stated as

Up till now, Meredith Woo has not apologised personally but chose to hide behind the safe walls of SPH. Instead, it was Asia One Editor Adrian Tay who apologised on her behalf.

As a journalist, one is expected to uphold journalistic integrity and accountability. Hence, it is a shame that Meredith has chosen to keep mum till this day.

We at The Unseen Singapore did some research and came across some interesting artifacts which may interest the public. 

Hopefully these put a face to the faceless reporter who slandered Ms Nicole Seah.

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Monday, 2 December 2013

The Unseen Singapore #14 PAP MP Series: Highest Paid Politicians In The World

Singapore politicians are the highest paid in the world! Sounds familiar doesn't it? Is this yet another rant about the PAP government justifying their million dollar salaries?

In the minds of Singaporeans, there is one common perception about the PAP old guard. The founders of the PAP were portrayed as men of conviction who cared for the common folk. They were thrifty and survived on a modest salary. They slogged their guts out for the sake of this little red dot. But based on our research findings, there may have been an anomaly to this long held truth.

Do you know that Mr Ong Eng Guan, one of the pioneer members of the People's Action Party received a $7,000 monthly salary for his position as Mayor of the Singapore City Council from 1957- 1958? This salary made him the highest paid mayor in the world!

After factoring the total annual inflation, $7,000 in 1958 is a whopping $56,591 in present terms. This amounts to an annual salary of $680,000! However, this still dwarfs in comparison to PM Lee Hsien Loong's current $2.2 million salary!

As we can see, the act of paying politicians an exorbitant salary did not start from contemporary PAP but started since the genesis of the PAP.

The justifications for such obscene salaries may be different but the fact remains, PAP politicians still hold the record for having the highest paid politicians in the world both in the past and at present!

What are your thoughts on this? Share it with us!

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