In July 2012 Law Society official Wong Siew Hong had charged into court like a bull in a china shop, waving a suspicious letter from another questionable doctor, psychiatrist Calvin Fones, about the mental health of a practising solicitor. Justice Philip Pillai rightly admonished him, "How is it you have the audacity to come and turn up in court when you don't even have an application?" The Supreme Court Judge was retired on 12 December 2012 at age 65. All the talk of pushing back the retirement age is apparently not applicable in this case.
How did the Law Society end up in this sorry state? Way back in 1986, during the hearings of the Select Committee on the Legal Profession Amendment Bill, Lee Kuan Yew made this threat to the Law Society:
"It is my job as prime minister in charge of the government to put a stop to politicking in professional bodies. If you want to politick, come out... You want to politick, you form your own party or join Mr (JB) Jeyaratnam... You think you can be smarter than the government and outsmart it, well, if you win, you form the government. If I win, we have a new law Society. It is as simple as that." (Cited in Daniel Bell, "Dissent Reassuring", Sunday Morning Post, 11 July 1999)
We know who won. Until 1986, the Law Society was required to comment on legislation. The Singapore Academy of Law, of which Lee, his wife and Goh Chok Tong's wife were members, a statutory body to control the entire legal profession, was subsequently set up in 1988 under the Singapore Academy of Law Act. In November 1995, the Singapore of Academy Act was amended to remove any remote possibility of the Law Society being involved in political issues or advising in any substantive way on the development of the law. With the lawyers out of the way, it looks like the future is being relegated to anal medical professionals.