Tuesday, July 29, 2008

WHAT are the ACTUAL numbers??

Back in Feb 08, it was reported "Singapore is losing about 1,000 of its best and brightest every year and the numbers are growing, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has said.." and "Citing figures of Singaporeans who gave up their citizenship and took out their savings and CPF funds, he said this meant 'losing about, at the top end, 1,000 a year, which is about - if you take the top 30 per cent of the population - about four or five per cent".

Last week, it was reported that according to DPM Wong "In the last three years, an average of 1,000 Singaporeans gave up their citizenship each year".

So, is the MM and DPM citing the same figures?? If that's the case, does it mean ALL these 1000 are Singapore's "best and brightest"?? If its not, does it then mean they are citing two different figures, meaning about 2000 give up their citizenship??

For a government that collects so much information on its citizens, it strains credulity that they don't have the actual numbers.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Al-Jazeera Video: Soaring prices hit Singapore's poor

I-S magazine article on Chee Soon Juan

The following section Doctored Image about Chee Soon Juan is part of an article in the latest edition of I-S magazine which features two other personalities, Steven Lim & Victor Khoo. You can read the full article The Unusual Suspects here.

Doctored Image

He’s been called a liar, a psychopath and everything in between. But honestly, how much do we know of the real Dr. Chee Soon Juan? As leader of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), the image of the 46-year-old neuropsychologist has suffered no end at the hands of a one-eyed media. In fact, the father of three has been caricatured to such an extent that as we walked up to his office in a terraced shop house off Upper Thomson Road, we thought we’d be in for some ride with a (hitherto portrayed) dour, schizoid personality—one who’d be easily prone to ranting against the establishment and the ruling party.

But what you see (on TV, in the political pages of the national press) is certainly not what you’ll get with Dr. Chee, who in our hour-long interview came across as erudite, urbane, articulate, smart, focused,eloquent and yes, very normal—debunking his media-projected persona as a stone-cold megalomaniac.“Would anyone like a drink?” he asks with all the grace of an exemplary host before sitting down to speak with us. As a youth without prior political leanings, Dr. Chee first became politicized in the late 1970s when the graduate mother’s scheme (where women who held degrees were encouraged to bear more children, whereas lower educated ones were told to stop at two) was first introduced.

“I became very concerned that such a distasteful policy was being openly encouraged, but I soon left to study in the US (in the early 1980s) and I thought this ‘way of thinking’ would soon pass,” he says. “But there was no discernable change (in policies and attitudes) when I returned, and I soon joined the opposition.

“My main aim then was (and still is) to fight unjust laws in the country and be an advocate for free speech. It is unconstitutional to be denied the opportunity to speak in public.”

Dr. Chee continues to fight charges of speaking in public without a permit, an offence that has already seen him incarcerated on several occasions (he’s been in the slammer a total of seven times), as well as an earlier incident in 1993 which which saw Dr. Chee getting sacked from the National University of Singapore, where he was lecturing, for allegedly misappropriating funds—consequences which probably solidified his rebellious persona even more.

“The media were a lot more balanced when I first entered politics in the early 1990s; they were reasonably fair in their reporting of what I had to say,” Dr Chee says. “But now, well, now they’ve gone too far; not only have they become way too personal in their attacks, they consistently misrepresent what I stand for.

“Which is that I’m out to do Singapore in; that I do not have the country’s best interest at heart. That is the biggest myth that’s constantly being perpetuated about me. Period. When all I stand for is for a more open, tolerant society; to respect one another’s differences and to move (the country) with the times.”

In addition, he has also been lampooned as an eccentric oddball. He laments, “Such is the nature of the beast. All these caustic attacks don’t even bother me anymore; you just have to steel yourself and roll with the punches.

“You know, it’s very easy to do the ‘accepted’ and popular things, but for real change to come about, one has to take a firm stand on one’s beliefs and see it all the way through.

“I can take heart that more are coming forward to speak up and speak out, but I stress that we advocate change in a non-violent way—with a capital ‘N’.”

When asked whether he had any regrets he says, “Definitely not. This is the life I have chosen for myself and I actually spend many a fruitful day writing books and papers, selling our party newsletter on the street and engaging with all sorts of people via the SDP portal (www.yoursdp.org).”

One doesn’t have to agree or disagree with his politics to come away with the conclusion that he certainly isn’t the firebrand that the media has regularly made him out to be. The impression we left with was that of an articulate, caring family man who dotes on his three well-adjusted young children, and one who has made untold sacrifices in the line of his work.

The SDP chief hopes to return to his beloved world of academia one day, but not before the “job is done,” he says.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

JBJ's interview with Malaysia's Star

Armed for a fresh battle

At 82, Singapore’s veteran opposition politician J.B. Jeyaretnam has overcome the odds and a bankruptcy suit to continue his battle. Armed with a new party, his political convictions are as strong as ever.

VETERAN Singapore opposition figure J.B. Jeyaretnam created history in 1981 when he became the first opposition MP in the island republic. The former magistrate, regarded now as Singapore's old political warrior, has paid a high price for his political convictions: he has had to sell off his properties and peddle his books along five-foot ways to help raise over S$1.5mil (RM3.45mil) to pay for at least a dozen defamation law suits against him during his 30-year political career.

The 82-year-old has now formed a new party, the Reform Party, and he hopes to continue with what he is doing as long as he is strong and healthy. (Note: See here and here about the Reform Party)

You were prohibited from active politics between 2001 and last year due to a defamation suit against you. How was it for you during this period?

I was angry, I suppose. The reason was obvious, as the reason for commencing bankruptcy procedures against me was to take me out of Parliament. I tried to resist but I did not succeed. As a bankrupt I was not allowed to leave the country without getting permission from the official assignee. Even to come to Johor Baru over the weekends, I had to make an application. So there was a complete restriction on my travel. Apart from that, there were all the other little things, like you cannot have a bank account when you are a bankrupt. I was not even allowed to assist other candidates in the elections. They said I was not to go anywhere near an election rally. I was not allowed to go and speak. I was not to go and even assist any candidate because they said that was election activity and as a bankrupt I cannot do that.

How did you raise the final amount to settle your defamation suit?

In the end my two sons bailed me out. The lion's share came from them. There were some small sums from others. This is because Singaporeans, for some reason or other, are frightened to give any money. Because of the climate of fear, Singaporeans did not give me much money although many sympathised with me. Most of the sales of my two books went towards my living expenses. My first book titled Make it right for Singapore is a compilation of all my speeches in parliament. The other, The Hatchet Man of Singapore, was after the 1997 elections. These books kept my body and soul together; they gave me something to do as besides writing them, I also sold them by the five-foot way in several areas three times a week together with a friend who has been with me since my time in the Workers Party.

Many Singaporeans were hoping you would contest in the 2006 elections. How much were you short of settling your bankruptcy amount?

That was my desperate hope. If the courts had agreed to fix the amount, I could have raised it. This is why I was disappointed with the courts. If the courts had fixed the amount and I knew what I had to raise, then I might have raised it through my sons. I do not know for sure whether it was a delaying tactic.

Have you started practising since the bankruptcy order was lifted?

I am doing one or two civil cases at the moment. I am operating on my own from my office off South Bridge Road. The person who was selling books is working with me now. I am here (Singapore) during weekdays.

The first thing you did after paying up your bankruptcy amount was to register a new party, the Reform Party. What was the main aim behind the formation of the party?

The main thing is to restructure the way we are governed in Singapore. Call it a “system” if you like. At the moment, the way we are governed is we have the executive (the ruling People's Action Party) at the top. And it's a law unto itself. The executive makes decisions and policies without any consultation with the people. And what is worrying is that there's no check on the executive, partly because Parliament is in the control of the PAP.

And even now, with just two opposition members in parliament, Parliament passes laws and abrogates the powers of the court. The courts cannot enquire into the merits of anyone detained without trial. A number of decisions made by ministers are kept outside the courts' jurisdiction, especially decisions affecting peoples' lives. So the courts are not protecting the rights of the citizens.

There is this question of freedom of speech in assembly. The constitution grants it, but government says no. Elections in Singapore are not free and clear, as there is no election commission in Singapore. Parliament is no longer a body that is separate, independent and able to control the executive. This is what I think is the urgent priority for Singapore.

Many people retire by the age of 82 but you seem to be eager to get back in parliament this year. Why?

I do expect to get back in parliament. But it's not for personal power but because I genuinely feel sorry for the people in Singapore. I am talking about the dispossessed, the underprivileged people, which make up a huge number. I am not talking about our bankers and wealthy people who are perhaps not interested in human rights. There is quite a bit of poverty in Singapore, even though the world does not seem to think so because of the propaganda machinery of the Government.

So you have no plans to retire soon?

It depends on my health, but I thank God for giving me health and strength. In that sense I owe it to Him to do something.

Are you not tired of being in politics since you started in 1971 with the Workers Party (WP)?

At times I feel tired and say to myself: “Don't you think you should give up now?” But that is only momentary. It is followed by the thought that if I have started on a job and as long as I have the health and strength, I will have to go on with it. And there are people who look to you especially when you walk the streets of Singapore. It is just my conviction that when things are wrong, and if there is anything I can do to put them right, then I should do that. I think every citizen should feel like that. It is a citizen's duty.

Being in the opposition in Singapore all these years has cost you dearly and you even had to sell off your properties. Any regrets?

I did not have many properties but I had to sell a bungalow in a very fashionable area in Singapore to pay the judgement obtained by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. Having sold that, three years later I bought a small apartment, and then I had to sell that too. All in, I had easily about 12 to 13 suits to pay off. Some people say I was a fool. All I can say is I do not regret it because, to me, life is not all about making money and acquiring wealth. Life is doing something for the people around you.

What do you think about the recent political tsunami in Malaysia?

It is good that there is a strong opposition in Parliament. This is what I am standing up for in Singapore. I want that for Singapore too.

Do you think such a political tsunami is possible in Singapore?

You never know, especially if Singaporeans take to heart what has happened in Malaysia. It is good to have a strong opposition.

As you can see, former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is widely regarded as the person who united the opposition. Are you planning to play the same role?

This talk about uniting the opposition parties in Singapore is not new. It has been talked about for many years. When I was in the WP, we managed to unite the Barisan Sosialis and another political party into one party. But before you can unite into a group, you must have similarities in ideals, objectives and values. And as I have said, even the WP now does not share my objective. Neither do the other opposition parties. So I do not see how we can really talk about coming together as one party.

In the Malaysian elections, blogs, SMS, and the Internet played an important role in getting the message across to the voters. What do you think?

It goes without saying. We cannot ignore the value and importance of the Internet in Singapore. If you access the blogs in Singapore, you will see the debate that is being carried out. So, of course, it will be foolish of us if we do not resort to the Internet to convey our messages to the people.

Many Singaporeans feel that the PAP has developed the country and, as such, there is no need for an opposition. What do you think about this?

Those who say this have swallowed the PAP's propaganda. No government, anywhere in the world, can be so good that there is no need for an opposition. It is only in dictatorships where one man rules the country without an opposition. And I differ (from the view) that PAP has done a lot for Singapore.

When you come to measure a country, you do not just look at the roads, the buildings, and the services provided. What you will be looking at is the quality of the peoples’ lives, whether they are allowed to live as human beings with dignity.

Singapore ranked at the bottom in a survey carried out to rank peoples’ happiness. The quality of life is poor. It is no good boasting about your efficiency, boasting about your airport, or boasting about anything else when the people are not happy.

Many say you are in constant loggerheads with the PAP and especially with the Lee family maybe because you have a personal grudge against Lee Kuan Yew.

This is a load of nonsense. I am opposed to the PAP policies not because I have something against Lee personally. But he happens to be the head of the PAP, so people try and equate my dissatisfaction with the PAP with some personal animosity against Lee Kuan Yew. I am clearly opposed to all that the PAP stands for. I am against the system, not the person.

Are your sons into politics?

No. They are not joining me and they have not joined any political party. But that does not mean they are not interested in political affairs and at the moment, I do not hope for them to succeed me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Propaganda movie in the making??

A government owned, run and/or heavily influenced Singapore media company making a feature film titled 1965.

According to the TODAY report below,"It is a film that talks about the people who founded Singapore, about our Minister Mentor and the political people who helped make Singapore what it is today".

Right...now let me put 2 and 2 together...A government owned, run and/or heavily influenced Singapore media company making a feature film titled 1965 "about the people who founded Singapore, about our Minister Mentor and the political people who helped make Singapore what it is today."

Hahahahahahaha....man that's a good one! I didn't realise it was to be a slapstick!

Independence day: The Singapore edition

Wednesday • July 23, 2008

MEDIACORP Raintree Pictures is setting its sights on local politics — at least on film. The company behind comedies I Not Stupid and the upcoming Money No Enough 2 is currently working on a film called 1965.

This was revealed by Raintree Pictures managing director Daniel Yun during an interview on Channel NewsAsia.

“We’ve been nurturing a film called 1965. It is a film that talks about the people who founded Singapore, about our Minister Mentor and the political people who helped make Singapore what it is today,” Yun said during the interview.

Yun added: “I think many people will be wondering why we are making a film like that, if we will be tripping over OB markers, if we are going somewhere that’s more sensitive, we’ll tread carefully. But the more important thing is to get it right.

“Doing the right thing means you need to start doing things that are not so easy, like making a political film or a film with political content. I think the Singapore environment and system is mature enough to want something like that.”

Today understands that the movie is still in its initial stages. Yun said they already have a “script” but have yet to finalise the cast and director. The planned 1965 movie will be a feature film as, he added, “Raintree doesn’t make documentaries”.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JBJ's open letter to Prime Minister

Got this from uncleyap's post. Click on the images to read from a larger version,

Monday, July 21, 2008

Our biggest struggle is not against the PAP, it is against what the PAP has done to our minds

That phrase in the post header says it all, doesn't it. Sums up quite alot in one phrase. It comes from a SDP article....

No credible people in the opposition?

20 july 08

Of course the PAP has credible people within its ranks. With a former judge, a mathematician, a senior legal officer, top lawyers, medical doctors, economists, academics and senior journalists, who can gainsay that the ruling party is well endowed in the credibility department?

What about the opposition? According to some “poll watchers” Singapore's opposition has some ways to go before it can match the PAP. And as long as it cannot do this, electoral success will be elusive. (See report below)

Indeed, Mr Lee Kuan Yew avers that all he is trying to do with his hardball politics is to force the opposition to gather candidates whose competence and integrity can compete with that found in such abundance in his party.

Agreeing, Professor Eugene Tan says that the opposition needs to work towards gathering a “brain trust” and build up a “government-in-waiting.”

Even Workers' Party Chairman Sylvia Lim concurs, saying that the opposition needs to “focus on getting credible people elected into Parliament.”

Of course Mr Lee, Professor Tan and Ms Lim are absolutely right about electing only “credible” people into parliament. Which Singaporean wants to elect a bunch of riff-raff into the legislature?

Unfortunately, the three miss the point (Mr Lee deliberately, of course).

It may surprise readers that the long list of high-calibre professionals mentioned in the opening paragraph does not, in fact, belong to the PAP; it belongs to the opposition.

From Drs Poh Soo Kai, Lee Siew Choh, and Lim Hock Siew (medical professionals) to Mr David Marshall (our first prime minister) to Mr Jeyaretnam (former judge) to Mr Francis Seow (former solicitor-general) to Mr Tang Liang Hong (senior lawyer) to Mr Chia Thye Poh (mathematician) to Mr Said Zahari (journalist), Singapore had men of distinction serving in the opposition, men whose moral and intellectual calibre take no backseat to anyone in the PAP.

Even today, the opposition has no dearth of professionals, lawyers, PhD holders and medical professionals in its camp. Many more than measure up to the Lim Swee Says, Mah Bow Tans, and Wong Kan Sengs.

Admittedly, there is a distinction between the PAP men and those serving in the opposition: the ones in the latter group are not motivated by money.

Another difference is that while the credibility of the PAP folks need Viagra-like boosts from the media they control, oppositionists are persecuted in every manner conceivable. Credible Singaporeans, after joining the opposition and given the Straits-Times treatment, very quickly become not credible.

Not true? Think International Bar Association (IBA). The organisation was good and lauded by Mr Lee Kuan Yew because unlike other Western liberal NGOs, it understood what the PAP was about. That is, until it opined that the Lee system needed reform.

Overnight the IBA was relegated to the ranks of those out to destroy Singapore and therefore no longer credible. Never mind the fact that Mr Lee made absolutely no sense and that he was his usual disingenuous self. What is disconcerting is that no one dared to tell him to his face what he really is, an old autocrat in whose mind intellectual decency matters little.

In the same vein, Mr Lee and those who can't think differently continue to parrot the untruth that the opposition cannot attract “credible” Singaporeans. How can the opposition attract good people when we measure goodness according to the Book of Lee?

And for goodness' sake, how do we define it? Are paper qualifications the be-all and end-all of what constitute good national leaders? Do principles, passion and personal beliefs not count at all in the make-up of our ministers and parliamentarians? What is the benefit of having row after row of MPs whose "competence" are measured by whether they graduated with first- or second-class honours, but who care more about what their party boss thinks than about how policies they pass affect the people they say they serve?

Society must not continue to allow the PAP's conceptions unchallenged. More important, the opposition must have the intellectual capacity to, before accepting the notion that we cannot attract good candidates, examine whether this premise is, in the first place, true.

Remember, our biggest struggle is not against the PAP, it is against what the PAP has done to our minds.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Videos: Reform Party inauguration dinner

These are videos of the Reform Party inauguration dinner. You can read toc's report on the event here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


On 4 June, i wrote about the laughable comments made by Singapore's Law Minister. I am still laughing.

The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute, or IBAHRI for short, has just released a report called Prosperity versus individual rights? Human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Singapore.

This is what IBA had to say in a statement introducing the report,
In a report released today, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) expressed concern about limitations on the freedoms of expression, assembly, and the press, and of the independence of the judiciary in Singapore. The report, Prosperity versus individual rights? Human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Singapore, makes 18 recommendations (pages 67-68), which the IBAHRI urges the Singapore Government to implement as a matter of priority.

‘As one of the world’s most successful economies, Singapore should be a leader in human rights and the rule of law, and should now have the confidence and maturity to recognise that this would be complementary, not contradictory, to its future prosperity,’ said Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA). ‘The IBAHRI has identified a number of areas in which Singapore falls far short of international standards. In particular, democratic debate and media comment are extremely restricted and government officials have initiated numerous successful defamation suits against both political and media critics.’

The IBAHRI report examines Singapore’s record on a range of human rights issues identified by the IBAHRI as a priority. This includes freedom of expression (for example, the use of defamation legislation to hinder opposition activities, and restrictions on freedom of the press and the internet), the independence of the judiciary (there have been allegations of executive influence), and freedom of assembly.

Investigations for the report began in the lead-up to the IBA’s 2007 Annual Conference in Singapore. Strong debate between the government and its critics took place during the IBA’s inaugural Rule of Law Day; an open public forum on human rights which was the first such discussion at an international conference in Singapore.

Emilio C├írdenas, Co-Chair of the IBAHRI, stated: ‘The IBAHRI has conducted a very extensive review in preparing this report, and has sought the views of all the major stakeholders concerned, including the Singapore Government and the Singapore Law Society. The report is unprecedented in its efforts to understand, respond to, and reflect the views of all sides to the debate.’
So i suppose now, the ruling party will want to sue IBAHRI for defamation while the Singapore judiciary will want to find IBAHRI in contempt of court. Duh.

Here are two news articles about the report,
Singapore should free courts from govt influence-IBA

SINGAPORE, July 9 (Reuters) - Singapore should free its courts from any government influence and elevate human rights standards to international levels, the world's largest legal association said.

The International Bar Association's human rights arm expressed concern over the limitations of freedom of expression and the independence of Singapore courts in a 72-page report released late on Tuesday.

The global legal association noted that while the city-state had a good reputation when adjudicating commercial cases that did not involve members of the ruling People's Action Party , when it came to matters regarding PAP litigants "there are concerns about an actual or apparent lack of impartiality".

The London-based body of more than 30,000 member lawyers also said that while Singapore fared well in commercial and economic rankings, it fared poorly in press freedom rankings, which it said was a concern given that a free press can generate important dialogue on issues.

"Singapore cannot continue to claim that civil and political rights must take a back seat to economic rights, as its economic development is now of the highest order," the report said.

"The International Bar Association Human Rights Institute strongly encourages Singapore to engage with the international community in a more constructive manner, and to take steps to implement international standards of human rights," it said.

The Singapore government did not immediately comment.


Singapore, where the IBA held its annual conference last year, is among the most developed nations in Asia, with the second highest GDP per capita after Japan.

However, media and human rights groups such as Amnesty International have criticized the government for restricting freedom of expression and using defamation lawsuits to financially cripple political opponents.

In a list of 18 recommendations, the IBA urged the Singapore government to ratify the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ease restrictions on the media and ensure that its courts are free from government influence.

IBA executive director said in a statement Singapore should be a leader in human-rights, and its advancement would be complementary to the city-state's future prosperity.

The IBA also noted that some publications, including The Economist and the Financial Times, have paid out-of-court settlements to avoid defamation lawsuits. The government says these lawsuits are needed to protect its reputation.

The legal body suggested the government set limits on defamation payouts in cases initiated by government officials. (Reporting by Melanie Lee, editing by Neil Chatterjee and Bill Tarrant)

Singapore falls short on rights: lawyers' group

SINGAPORE (AFP) - - Despite its impressive economic development, Singapore fails to meet international standards for political and human rights and there are concerns about the independence of its judiciary, an association of lawyers said.

The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute identified a number of areas in which Singapore fell far short of international norms, said the association's executive director Mark Ellis.

"In particular, democratic debate and media comment are extremely restricted and government officials have initiated numerous successful defamation suits against both political and media critics," he said in a statement released late Tuesday in London.

The rights institute also issued 18 recommendations, which it said Singapore's government should implement urgently.

The group has published a 72-page report on the issue, several months after the IBA held its annual convention in Singapore. The association represents 30,000 lawyers globally.

"Singapore cannot continue to claim that civil and political rights must take a back seat to economic rights, as its economic development is now of the highest order," the report said, calling human rights universal and indivisible.

The IBA's rights institute "strongly encourages Singapore to engage with the international community in a more constructive manner, and to take steps to implement international standards of human rights throughout Singapore."

It called for Singapore to take its place as a regional leader on human rights, democracy and rule of law, as well as in business and economic development.

Singapore holds the rotating chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, whose new charter calls for establishment of a regional human rights body.

The IBA report said the cases of opposition politicians J.B. Jeyaretnam and Chee Soon Juan illustrate concerns over the use of defamation laws to stifle political opposition and expression.

J.B. Jeyaretnam, 82, a lawyer, was disbarred when declared bankrupt in 2001 after failing to pay libel damages to members of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP), including a former prime minister.

Bankrupts are not allowed to run for political office, but last year he cleared his bankruptcy, and has since announced his involvement with a new political party.

Chee, secretary general of the Singapore Democratic Party, was declared bankrupt after failing to pay libel damages to Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew and another former prime minister over remarks made in 2001.

Chee and his party are awaiting a judge's decision on damages against them in a separate defamation case, filed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his father, Lee Kuan Yew.

"It certainly appears that Dr Chee has been made a target by the Singapore government, and that their criticism of him has gone far beyond a reasonable standard," the IBA wrote.

It said the Singapore judiciary had a good international reputation when adjudicating commercial cases that did not involve the interests of PAP members or their associates.

"However, in cases involving PAP litigants or PAP interests, there are concerns about an actual or apparent lack of impartiality and/or independence," it said.

The report expressed concern about "limitations on free assembly" in the city-state, and said the Law Society was not fulfilling its mandate to speak out on law reform issues.

Law Society president Michael Hwang told AFP his group could not yet comment because it had only just received the IBA report.

Government spokesmen were also not immediately able to react.

At the IBA convention last October, Lee Kuan Yew responded to allegations that his country ranked low in matters of press freedom, saying Singaporeans were free to read whatever they wanted.

He also said Singapore was built on the rule of law and did not tolerate corruption. This meant defamation action may be taken against those who impute dishonesty to government officials, in order to clear any doubts, he said.