If Singapore is Rupert Murdochâ€™s Idea Of â€˜Open and Clear,â€™ That Explains a Lot
Probably the most telling statement the press baron Rupert Murdoch made during his abject mea culpa before the British Parliament this week was his praise of Singapore, calling it â€œthe most open and clear society in the worldâ€ and â€œthe cleanest society you can find anywhere â€” as every minister is paid at least one million dollars a year and has no temptation to transgress.â€
What that statement betrays is that Rupert Murdoch appears to have no basic appreciation of independent journalism or democracy itself.
Transparency Internationalâ€™s Corruption Index ties Denmark and New Zealand with Singapore at the very top of its corruption perceptions index. Leave aside the question of what the lawmakers of Denmark and Sweden are paid to maintain their integrity â€” a fraction of what Singapore ministers get.
What keeps Singaporeâ€™s ministers in line is not those million-dollar paychecks but the fact that they are scared to death of Lee Kuan Yew, who has shown no compunction whatsoever in jailing the odd minister who does stick his hand in somebody elseâ€™s pockets. In 1986, Teh Cheang Wan, one of Leeâ€™s best friends, a co-founder of the state and the head of the national development ministry, committed suicide rather than face corruption charges that Lee was intent on bringing against him.