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Beyond Suspicion? The Singapore Judiciary (Southeast Asia Studies Monograph Series) Paperback – January 2, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0938692874 ISBN-10: 0938692879

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Product Details

  • Series: Southeast Asia Studies Monograph Series
  • Paperback: 428 pages
  • Publisher: Yale Univ Southeast Asia Studies (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0938692879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0938692874
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Once again, Francis Seow has revealed, with his usual rigour and attention to detail, a vital part of Singapore's repressive machinery, this time by placing his spotlight on its judiciary. 'Beyond Suspicion? The Singapore Judiciary' is essential to understanding the true nature of human rights abuses in that country. Human rights campaigners now and historians of the future will regard it a required reading. --Margaret John, Coordinator for Singapore and Malaysia, Amnesty Internatinal Canada

Francis Seow has not just exposed the judiciary; he has also laid bare the serious limitations of the political system. This is a quite brilliant piece of sustained analysis of how the judiciary is harnessed to political persecution. It is a style and methodology that is more legalistic..., but it is only through this approach that the full magnitude of the judiciary's emasculation and the PAP's manic desire to crush the slightest semblance of serious scrutiny become fully clear. --Garry Rodan, Director, Asia Rresearch Centre, Murdoch University, Western Australia

This is an extremely valuable record of many significant cases and events that lay bare the dynamics of the Singapore judiciary and its intersection with political personalities and imperatives. It is an impressive work...of scholarly and public policy interest, providing chapter and verse on the politico-legal nexus in Singapore. --Christopher Tremewan, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of Auckland, New Zealand

About the Author

Francis Seow was educated at Saint Joseph's Institution in Singapore and at the Honorable Society of the Middle Temple, London. he joined the Singapore Legal Service in 1956, serving as deputy public prosecutor until 1972, when he entered private law practice. He was appointed Solicitor General of Singapore by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and was elected president of the Law Society in 1986. In 1989, Seow was appointed the first Orville Schell Fellow, Yale Law School, and in 1990, a Fellow at East Asian Legal Studies, Harvard Law School.

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Teo Soh Lung on November 1, 2007
Beyond Suspicion? The Singapore Judiciary by Francis T Seow

Francis Seow's meticulous and skilful narration of events introduces the reader to the unique political climate in Singapore. Who would have thought that discussions and questions concerning the sale of several luxurious apartments to politicians and well-known individuals, including Supreme Court judges would result in 13 lawsuits being served on a single Singapore citizen, Tang Liang Hong.

Seow's detailed and eloquent description of how hard senior lawyers worked for their clients, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Senior Minister and several cabinet ministers against Tang Liang Hong, his lawyer, J B Jeyaretnam and his wife, Teo Siew Har is disturbing. It was spine chilling to read how at midnight, lawyers and inland revenue officials served summonses on Teo Siew Har at her residence after her forced return by the immigration authority at the Johor-Singapore causeway.

The participation and non participation of lawyers in the lawsuits against Tang Liang Hong, J B Jeyaretnam and Teo Siew Har culminating in the bankruptcy of all three (J B Jeyaretnam was bankrupted by a litigant in an unconnected lawsuit) should prick the conscience of lawyers and judges. The manner in which court officials and Supreme Court judges handled the plethora of lawsuits against the three give much food for thought.

Never before has a book that gives such deep insights into the workings of the Singapore courts been published. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand Singapore and Singaporeans.

Francis Seow joined the Singapore Legal Service in 1956 and was Solicitor-General from 1966 to 1972.

Teo Soh Lung
Singapore
1 November 2007

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Jess on May 14, 2014
As the former solicitor-general of Singapore, Francis T. Seow was one of LKY’s right-hand men — the top man after the attorney general (the attorney general being the principal legal officer who represents a country in legal proceedings and gives legal advice to the government).

The publication’s core strength lies in Francis Seow’s references to a complete set of court documents to present his points. That this book is written in a vibrant, intellectually lively style makes it both an educational and entertaining read. For example, Francis Seow doesn’t simply use the word “corrupted” to describe Singapore politics — he describes it as “a dirty gladiatorial game [that's] also dangerous.”

Even when armed with this knowledge, the reader will still come across an array of mind-boggling dialogue and logic-defying actions (thanks to the PAP leaders of the time), through Francis Seow’s intense presentation of the case involving Tang Liang Hong.

Tang’s “crime” was questioning the Lees’ controversial purchases with the Nassim Jade properties, and asking why the matter wasn’t handed over to a professional body like Commercial Affairs Department or Corrupt Practice Investigation Bureau.

The real crime is that Tang Liang Hong was in opposition politics, an individual whom the PAP elite recognized “as an immediate threat to their electoral prospects in the Cheng San GRC” during the 1997 General Election. Back in 1981, LKY once dismissed the value of a political opposition as being “irrelevant.” How can someone or something be a threat and irrelevant at the same time?

The rest of the chapters give a detailed account of the political gangsterism and character assassination Tang Liang Hong experienced.
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It's really an eye-opening book exposing the shortcomings and severe limitations of the Singapore judiciary in dealing with politically-driven cases
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