Under fire for a growing phone-hacking scandal, media mogul Rupert Murdoch's argument for The Daily Telegraph to buy a series of stolen documents relating to the expenses of MPs for an expose was to ask the British government to "look at Singapore - where every minister gets at least a million dollars a year and the Prime Minister a lot more and there is no temptation and it is as clean a society as you find anywhere." Only Bernie Ecclestone can top that whopper with his "Hitler gets things done" adulation. Bernie's words ring a familiar tone, "...apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people, able to get things done." And then there's this quote from a fellow authoritarian, “.. but everything I did was for an honorable purpose. I had to do some nasty things, locking fellows up without trial.”
Whoever came up with our country's name had the foresight to get the first 3 letters right. And that was before Marina Bay Sands casino became the new national icon. Just because individuals have been bankrupted by lawsuits, the books have not been closed on the HPL episode. All in all, Lee Kuan Yew received from HPL a total of $416,252 whilst his son got $643,185 in discounts from the Ong Beng Seng company where Dr Lee Suan Yew, Lee Kuan Yew's younger brother, was seated on the board of directors. Here's one damning quote: "There is no way - and I say this with some sympathy for the young aspiring professional or young executives - for them to have the same value to a seller of a product as a well-known public figure or a sports star or a TV star... Let me illustrate in my own small way. My being me helped me get, if you like, the inside track and special treatment. ..." (Hansard, May 21, 1996, cols 190-91, 196, rationalising his controversial purchases of luxury apartments from the Hotel Properties Limited (HPL) at deeply discounted prices).
80-year-old Murdoch's comment during questioning by British Members of Parliament apparently brought about plenty of mumbling from those present, including someone who quipped derisively: "good luck in selling that to anyone here." A political science academic working in Singapore, Bridget Welsh, could see he was grasping at straws, "My sense is that Mr Murdoch was engaged in a defence and (was) using every example he could find."