Thursday, October 2, 2014

Double Standards

There are two Susan Lims. She is the talented surgeon who performed the first successful liver transplant in Asian history in 1990. You can see her giving a TED talk on "Transplanting Cells, Not Organs" in April 2011, which has garnered 567,316 total views thus far. At the age of 36, Lim rose to the prestigious position of associate professor in surgery. Her hands have been replicated for display at Madame Tussaud's Exhibition, probably in recognition of her surgical skills.

And there's the Susan Lim who was convicted of professional misconduct in respect of overcharging one of her patients, the sister of the Queen of Brunei. She was fined $10,000 by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) and suspended from practising for three years. The punishment is believed to be among the most severe meted out to an errant doctor, short of being struck off.

The story could have ended there. The law was allowed to take its course, and the good doctor should have been given time off for a period of self reflection and repentance.

“All things whatsoever ye would that men
should do to you, do ye even so to them."
Except for the ugly fact that SMC's lawyers proceeded to practise exactly they had argued against in court. After losing the case by SMC asserting that she had overcharged her wealthy Bruneian patient, Susan Lim ended up facing an over inflated bill to pay the SMC's costs. The irony can't get any better than this.

SMC's lawyers - Senior Counsel Alvin Yeo and Melanie Ho of WongPartnership (WongP) - overcharged by $637,009 (the difference between the original bill amount of $1.007 million and the $370,000 allowed by High Court Judge Woo Bih Li, who reviewed the matter, and eventually allowed that total sum for the bill of costs).

The latest development is that the court has slashed SMC's cost claims, and awarding the council only $317,000 of the $1.33m it was itching to collect (note the numbers keep changing, as if plucked mysteriously from the air). Examples of the overcharging include bills for two expert witnesses which were set at some $52,000, and slashed by the court to $14,000. Ring binders for which SMC had priced at $6 per unit for Dr Lim to pay were cut to $2.50 per unit after the court found it had used the cheaper version in past hearings. Greed knows no bounds.

The end is not yet in sight. When politicians get involved -  and Alvin Yeo is a PAP MP - the muck takes forever to clear. Yang Yin did his homework well, he knew the Kodak moments with Lee Hsien Loong, Grace Fu and Intan Mokhtar will be worth more than the $4,000 he splurged for a fake degree.


  1. Roll up, roll up. Everything's for sale.

  2. A serious question left untouched by your piece is - was the Medical Council of Singapore( MCS, not SMC) guilty of any misconduct if they merely demanded that Dr.Lim foot their lawyers' bill without "taxing" the bill first before making that demand as they should. Did they pay the bill before making the demand as re-imbursement? Under the Medical Registration Act The Council is obliged to "determine" the fees to be paid to its legal counsel and legal assessors. In legal practice lawyers are obliged to inform the clients of their proposed charges before acting for them. Failure to do so will constitute professional misconduct. Was this done? Who disciplines the MCS?

  3. An MP did that?

    1. We should definitely look into whether he has overcharged taxpayers on expenditures as a MP.

  4. John Scooter10/03/2014 5:14 AM

    So the MP continues to rack in money from his private practice as well as from his salary as an MP?

  5. National Audit.
    Why talk anymore?

  6. despicable

    and they are professionals,educated,established.

    and claims that he is not aware of these things?
    ( these charges were compiled by the staff of the law firm... nothing to do with me... I was not involved)

    I suppose the fees collected as a professional lawyer is also unknown to him?

    What a shallow mind... and he is a leader of people?
    I would not stand behind him for fear of smell & shit from the rear end.

  7. Conclusion is that these 2 professions have been protected for too long and need to be liberalized, to free up the monopoly. There would be lesser worry about being sick or being sue your pants off.

  8. Is it irony or karma? "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

    There are double standards all right. One for those in the inner circle, one for those outside? Even a PRC conman Yang Yin knows as much. Is that why he snuggled close to the powers that be, and got his PR expedited, whilst others more qualified have to wait donkey years? Still to hear from MP Intan Mokthar.

  9. Can we conclude that SMC committee members are such hypocrites or what?

    First it started with the greedy politicians demanding to be paid obscenely just for being honest ?

    Then can we really blame the doctors or lawyers for being greedy themselves following those who are supposed to lead by example ?

  10. Must say that Dr Intan is exemplary of a kind leader. She helps and treat foreigners well. It shows that she is kind, helpful and best of all race/colour, faith and language blind. Just find her great.

    1. Do you think Dr Intan is good if you are an alien like Yang Yin?
      But if you are a Singaporean like Mdm Chung ... do you think Dr Intan is good for Singaporeans?

      If you are a Singaporean like Mdm Chung ... do you think PAP is good for Singaporeans?

    2. She helped a foreign parasite, followed by integrating him into our country. Great! Blind is the right word. What does that say about the competence of our politicians and the backdoor entry into politics?

  11. "What's wrong with collecting more money?"
    Lee Kuan Yew

  12. My take is Yang Yin is not the FIRST and he's never the LAST.