Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Go On, Make My Day

The former president of the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) was charged with criminal breach of trust for misappropriating association funds in 2005, but declined to take the witness stand to defend himself. One word that comes to mind is chutzpah, derived from the Hebrew word ḥutspâ (חֻצְפָּה), meaning "insolence" or "audacity". Choo Wee Khiang, 58, was a former Member of Parliament for Jalan Besar GRC and may be harbouring the impression that association should still carry quite a bit of weight.

His lawyer is arguing that Choo had "derived absolutely no personal benefit" from the $8,400 that went to an assistant coach who moonlighted at Fuhua Secondary School from 2001 to 2003. Never mind if it was Choo who devised a convoluted way to make the Fuhua principal make payment to the coach. A similar logic was applied in the case when Action Information Management (A.I.M.) finagled the Town Council software deal and the MND Review Team declared that "there was no misuse or loss of public moneys in the transaction." Teo Ho Pin and Chandra Das can sit pretty because there was no money trail leading to their personal accounts, but "personal benefit" can be interpreted in many ways.

In the instance of law professor Tey Tsun Han, personal benefit includes receiving several gifts from his student, which included a limited edition Montblanc pen and tailored shirts. The guy has just been convicted of six counts of corruptly obtaining gratification. And if Tey had so much as obtained extra egg for his order of kway teow, you can bet he will be slammed with one more count of corruption.

Choo would be foolish to assume the court of public opinion would rule in his favour, the position taken by Mr and Mrs Todd after they walked out of the coroner's inquiry on their son's mysterious death. After all, Choo did lose his MP position in 1999 after pleading guilty to a charge of abetting his brother-in-law to cheat a finance company in 1990. And he did make the racist joke in parliament: "One evening, I drove to Little India and it was pitch dark but not because there was no light, but because there were too many Indians around." By today's standards, he should be in court for sedition.


  1. Interesting hor..what took this case so long since he was charged in 2005?

    So Public Prosecutor is not proceeding with 3 other charges against Choo of using association funds to pay for personal expenses, only Criminal breach of trust?

    Is this another example of 'prosecutorial discretion' just like SPF officers deviate from protocol using 'operational discretion' to rule out staged suicide?

  2. Who's Your Daddy5/28/2013 8:27 PM

    //Choo would be foolish to assume the court of public opinion would rule in his favour//

    It wouldn't matter to him what. He's still in employment by Marina Bay Golf Club, owned by NTUC, and his nephew is no longer running for MP.

    Can't say the same for Tey. Lost his tenure, lost his PR-ship, lost his case and probably his wife too.

    1. Wasn't he involved in a case of reckless golfing by hitting golf balls at some group of people, and thus banned from SICC?

      PAP sure has a way of rehabilitating its members, just like those losing wanna-be MPs who are rotating as GROs in the winning wards. It pays to be a member.

  3. maybe he think it's too dark to notice the difference ...

    1. If I were the judge, just jail him in a room with indian cell mates, far better than a slap of sedition charge.

  4. If any of us has a mistress or a lover, there is bound to be love gifts. It doesn't matter who is giving. But in the latest court case, it looks like after everything is dragged through the mud and then suddenly love gifts become gifts of corruption ?