Lee Kuan Yew strikes again: Malaysia on the Defensive Mode

August 11, 2013

Lee Kuan Yew strikes again: Malaysia on the Defensive Mode

by Josh Hong (08-10-13) @ http://www.malaysiakini.com

It is interesting to note that Singapore continues to haunt Malaysia despite that the two countries have lived separately for nearly half a century.

Lee-Kuan-Yew-book-singapore-060813_360_524_100In particular, every word uttered by Lee Kuan Yew, the so-called ‘founding father’, is taken as gospel truth by those who worship him – such as the Chinese Malaysians – and as nothing but another attempt to drive a wedge between the various communities in Malaysia by others who detest him.

This week, Lee has again ruffled the feathers of some across the LKYcauseway with his latest book One Man’s View of the World, in which he shares his long-held views that Malaysia would prepare to lose talent in order to maintain the dominance of one race, and that “race-based politics place the country at a disadvantage”.

No issue about that, since this is the man who has turned an entrepôt into an economic powerhouse in the region, playing a very important diplomatic role that far outweighs the size of the island state.

As Singaporeans are celebrating their 48th National Day on August 9, much has been made of the vastly different paths that the two countries have taken since their acrimonious divorce in 1965.

There is nonetheless no dispute that Malaysia pales into insignificance when compared to Singapore’s economic growths over the years. Malaysian leaders, be they Umno bigwigs or veterans like Mahathir Mohamad, may look askance at the lack of Malay representation in Singapore’s cabinet, there is no denial that the ‘Little Red Dot’ is among the safest countries in the world, with shootings, muggings and car-jackings almost unheard of.

And Lee cannot feel more vindicated now that the series of shooting incidents across Malaysia have shattered the Barisan Nasional government’s own illusion that rising crime rates were just a ‘perception’.

Dr Mahathir.Hence, for certain Malaysians – Mahathir especially – to dismiss Lee’s achievements simply because of jealousy or misplaced dignity is akin to ostriches burying their heads in the sand.

However, it is equally fanciful for Lee’s admirers in Malaysia to praise him to the skies while ignoring the fact that Singapore’s current status as a star pupil in the international arena has come at the expense of civil liberties and political freedom.

High-handed manner

While western scholars – from Samuel P Huntington to David Madland – have held the view that a vibrant middle class invariably spurs democratic transformation, Singapore under the Lee family has defied the argument time and again. One only has to look at the high-handed manner in which the People’s Action Party’s responded to Malaysians who protested peacefully in the island state against electoral fraud back home.

Throughout his political career, one message of Lee’s is loud and clear: one thinking reed is dangerous enough for Singapore’s nation-building project, so he has never wavered at crushing it.

Lest we forget, for all their political differences and personal rivalries, Lee shares one thing in common with Mahathir: an unflinching belief that man must accept strong and even authoritarian governments in order to enjoy economic prosperity and societal peace.

It is all the more paradoxical to observe that among Lee’s cheerleaders are Malaysians who have been fighting relentlessly against closure of any vernacular schools, who would appear to be prepared for the death of mother-tongue education on the PAP’s terms.

Which raises the question as to whether Malaysians’ democratic pursuit is rooted firmly in the notion of individual liberties and the freedom to think and to choose, or contigent on economic benefits. In other words, would Pakatan Rakyat supporters surrender their demands for greater human rights, vernacular education and political diversity in return for economic achievements as enjoyed by Singaporeans?

But Lee did make a valid point when he expressed doubts on the resilience of Pakatan as a multiracial coalition. The failure to take over the federal administration is indeed a severe blow to the opposition pact, but it is the journey ahead that is fraught with pitfalls and challenges.

Hanging in the balance

One concern is whether PAS would reverse its progressive trends while the DAP would turn further inward by consolidating its own power in Penang, to the chagrin of its ruling partners. The future of PKR also hangs in the balance as the future of Anwar Ibrahim remains uncertain.

azlanSimply put, it is how the three coalition partners navigate their ideological differences and rise above their respective communal mindsets so that they can continue to present themselves as a viable alternative that cuts across race, creed and religion that will determine the eventual success of multiculturalism, as opposed to the view that Malaysian politics will forever be characterised by race and religion as Lee sees it.

On this, I have only one piece of advice for the DAP: while it is fine and well to adopt economic policies that would bring about distributive justice, there is no need to constantly showcase Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore as a ‘success story’, unless the DAP leadership is convinced there is much that one can learn from the Lee dynasty on democracy and political freedom.

After all, didn’t the old man – whom the DAP very much looks up to – just say Pakatan was nothing but a bunch of ‘opportunists’?

JOSH HONG studied politics at London Metropolitan University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. A keen watcher of domestic and international politics, he longs for a day when Malaysians will learn and master the art of self-mockery, and enjoy life to the full in spite of politicians.



35 thoughts on “Lee Kuan Yew strikes again: Malaysia on the Defensive Mode

  1. Brilliant as he is, compassion is not his forte. Reading his observations during his twilight years, I found a man troubled by a few unfinished business and unfulfilled dreams. Pity that he was born a Chinese . If his roots were from Bogor or Pekan, he could be a leader of a bigger territory instead of a municipality.

  2. yes LKY behaves like a sick person, finding faults of others and forgetting his , as if he is only the virtuous one , being a busybody is definitely not a virtue, old or young……………..

  3. LKY ‘s book says it all “one man’s point of view” nothing more. So where is the biggie..pray for him as we do for Tun Dr M…nothing more

  4. I am very amused when one clown who is such idiotic to berate the neighbour vy saying that it’s just a municipal. It’s only in Malaysia, we have plenty of such clowns. This clown has forgotten that Singapore can instantly mobilise 250K troops. Plus they have been in war mode all this while. Meaning Singapore can strike KL by road (Thanks to Madhater) in 1 day. Not forgeting that south of west malaysia is monitored by Singapore E2C. I would strongly suggest that clown to balik tidur la.

  5. Where in the world do thoughts and figures like “250k troops can be mobilised to take on KL by road” surface from? Is this the 1940s? Singapore’s success is that it can Depend On Malaysia and not be seen as an enemy. If Singapore has to fight Malaysia it is gone ….Kaput. (War is not won by Hardware). And it is not “war mode ” that has led to the material Success of Singapore.

    LKY’s brilliance is that he managed to ride on the siege mentality of the Nanyang Chinese ( he created the image of a Big Bully – Malaysia) to unite them to achieve material success. (hmm now seen in this light LKY was just an opportunist albeit a smart one).

    There is a dearth in the soul of Singapore which can only be healed by their people maintaining deep relationships with Malaysia, (and Indonesia) to give them that spark of life that is very much missing.

    Give them space and Singaporeans will be able to realise this and mature into a true global nation, of that I have no doubt. Till then I am inclined to call it a well run municipality…. 🙂 of which Malaysia can emulate in running our towns and cities.

    But as a Nation our vibrant democracy must be pursued with greater vigour and I have a lot of faith in out younger generation who have had the chance to learn from our past mistakes. As bad as Tun M or DS Anwar maybe they are our “dumbassess”, and we can always choose improved versions of these “dumbasess”.

    Singaporeans’ only choice is GOD because since MR LKY is the most perfect leader who else can be better? 🙂

  6. Master Looes74,
    I totally concur with you that S’pore can mobilise 250K Ah Bengs not only to KL but Padang Besar for all you know. If only you could continue with the aftermath of such “non idiotic ” move, I am more than thrill to wait for part II , III, IV of your war stories.

  7. The quotes for ” founding father” seem to be insulating to LKY. He was the head of Singapore who negotiated or ‘kicked out’ to have own country , so rightly he deserved to be called the Founding Father.

  8. Looes,

    What rubbish are you talking..?? You think it’s easy to mobilise 250k Singaporeans in a country where the youths are unpatriotic, lack of military knowledge and experience, only interested in life leisures and material wealth, individualistic and “kiasu” orientated…?? Don’t you realised the younger generation of Singapore hate to be enlisted for the national service forced upon them…?? All the talks about their military capabilities and the so-called supremacy were only just mere propaganda to convince the people of the island republic security…For your information the republic is prone to any military attack from the sea encircling all sides of the island, especially using paratroopers and commando operations where countries like Malaysia and Indonesia’s battle hardened military are well known for their capabilities and experiences in this kind of warfare.

  9. Looser74, Malaysia can easily mobilise 1.5 million reserves throughout the country and can swarmed Singapore in 24 hrs. Wars are always won on the battlefield. The Americans were defeated in Vietnam and the Russians in Afghanistan despite their air power supremacy, which I doubt Singapore has the similar capability in terms of air power.
    Singapore has first strike capability and they know the targets they must hit to cripple us.–Din Merican

  10. LKY made a success of his country and we messed up ours. Anybody has a different opinion, please present the facts and figures or just make no comments…

  11. When you Personalize National Affairs and and Nationaliize Personal Affairs when you have that God given right yo rule your country the history of your nation is reduced to IFs and BUTs. And when you are forced to decend to the level of managing IFs and BUTs then you relegated to the level of dealing only with POTs and PANs. IF is a two letter word and BUT is a three letter word. Togethet these five letters of the alphabet can ruin your country if you continue to be deceived by your own deception. Leaders must wake up and do the right thing at the berginning rather than do the right at the end because if you make a wrong turn at the expense of the nation, just like if you make a wrong turn when you travel from KLIA to Kuala Lumpur you may end up in Nilai before you are back on track on your way to Kuala Lumpur. That is the story of Malaysia and Singapore. Even if we make the decision to get back on the right track and begin our journey from Nilai to Kuala lumpur it may take us a generation before we can lift the entire nation and correct our wrongs.

    We can still do it but some one has to come up with the answers. I pray to God that HE will give my leaders the wisdom to do the right thing and get this country back on track instead of we having to deal with the IFs and BUTs.

  12. There’s a high number (proportion) of Singaporeans emigrating from their country, just like Malaysia ……

    Best if Singaporeans replace their repressive PAP regime, Malaysians replace our far worse kleptocratic UMNO Baru-BN, and the two nations under new govts join in an economic union. Then we will both prosper together. And there will be no need to use the other as a bogey man to propagandise and frighten their more gullible citizens to keep on supporting repressive,
    semi-police state regimes in both Singapore and Malaysia.

    Check out the website of the Singapore Democrats.

  13. Col Mojo,
    Read the book “Defending the Lion City” by Tim Huxley, first published in 2000. You will have a different perspective.

  14. En Din,
    Singapore with all its battle hardwares could perhaps cripple whatever targets she chooses but could she ever annihilates the spirit of every mamats and minahs from Bangsar Damansara to Kupang Kedah?
    That remains to be seen.–Din Merican

  15. Robert,
    I may be exagerating about the need mobilising 250K. However, left me assured you that it’s plausible by few simple facts :

    1) Singapore was first trained by Isreal who has been very successful in mobilising in targeted areas. Want more facts, just google Isreal-Arab War 1967.

    2) Like I have mentioned many times before, Singapore has always been in a war footing. I am not sure if some of the clowns such as mojo & johormali says that all singaporeans lembik. Let me assured you when you kenna drilled consistently over long period of time, I guarantee that it can deliver a knockout blow especially to Malaysia armed forces judging on how they have handled the recent Sabah affair

    Some snippet of singapore armed forces readiness :


    I would suggest you to follow Kenneth Jeyaratnam instead. Apart from WP which is a mess (can’t even handle a town council affairs properly), Kenneth is the man you should look out for.

  16. Err.. fellas, looes is as usual fibbing and trying to score brownie points trying to whack without facing me front on.. Guerrilla tactics work when gorilla’s don’t. Getting a hard-on with such methods, is hitting below the belt, just because there is nothing ‘up-there’. Lemme give you another perspective..

    First strike to cripple doesn’t mean dip-shit, when almost one third to half a nation’s population is foreign – especially from the neighbor – one is attacking. Not forgetting, that many have relatives on both sides of the causeway. As soon as a single shot is fired in aggression, the war is lost and the dot swarmed. For all the bluster, offensive displays are thus irrelevant and a figment of a puerile, fervid imagination.

    Singapore is NOT Israel – period! Even though they would like to project themselves as the strongman. Yes, like an Ah Beng/Ah Lian – all glitter and no mojo.. (my apologies to the good Col). Look, it’s not good to play up other nation’s insecurities, just like we don’t want others to tell us Malaysians are ‘dickless’ – even if it’s true..

    Remember, fear and hatred are the politicians best currencynot BR1M-like handouts or pork-barrel politics, as our recent experience has shown.

    Dr Phua is right in saying that many Singaporeans would if given the choice – migrate to Oz or N.America. Heck, my cousins wanted to migrate to Tasmania – until the cold crept up their cojones, and they couldn’t get easy access to their social networking. Haha..

  17. Oh, btw looes, the Chosen of God is Israel. Not Singapore. Harry doesn’t know his Bible. Armageddon is the Valley of Meggido, not Klang or Perak Valley. Get a grip on yourself! May i suggest you continue reading Sgt. York of DC Comics?

  18. Din is right ! Singapore has first strike capabilities…you have to read their arsenals they have at hand…even FIR [fire n forget ] missiles.

    Their Air Force trained in the States and they are prepared anytime, just precision timing and planning. building through the years this mobilisation.

    Every able bodied are specialised in their fields , logistics. armory, medical, nursing ect…..

    Their system mirrors the same like Israel….but always kept in low key.

  19. Johormali & Mojo,

    According to another super idiots, the leader of johormali & mojo, Malaysia is infested with 260K hardcore criminals. Hahahahaha, sorry, I wanna retract my exageration that Singapore would mobilise (Again it’s plausible) 250K troops. With this


    Singapore dones not have to send in any army, Malaysia sure mampus. Isn’t it time for clowns such as Johormali to sign up for Kapitan Malaysia to fight 260K criminals? Hahahahahaha, Johormali, apa macam, sudah matikah?

    Guys & Gals,

    Singapore has just celebrated 48 years of independence. Sometimes when you look at their national parade, should we have the same kinda pride & honour? LKY is right, Malaysia is indeed a Malay Malaysia.

    What we wanted is Malaysian Malaysia. You see in USA, they have progressed from being slave owner country to a truly free nation. Malaysia has regressed from bad to worse. Enjoy Singapore national parade la

  20. It is all the more paradoxical to observe that among Lee’s cheerleaders are Malaysians who have been fighting relentlessly against closure of any vernacular schools, who would appear to be prepared for the death of mother-tongue education on the PAP’s terms.

    This is a no brainer. The key here is the quality of the education. In Malaysia, vernacular schools, especially Chinese schools, are seen as much higher in quality than Malay school or even the dumb-down English schools.

  21. Looking at the geriatric and infantile Singaporean kiasu-kiasi war-like comments above – everyone here is suffering from either ‘generalized paralysis of the insane’ i.e tertiary syphilis, delirium tremens (alcoholic withdrawal) or else terminal Alzheimer’s – and playing with their very personal blob of turd.

    Yeah, the war should be against the mat rempits, gangsta ahbengs and machai while our PDRM sleeps. I mean.., be adult about it, can or not? Go form a vigilante committee or something like that and spend your time looking after your backyard – instead of dreaming up war scenarios like the Goons. Projection and hallucinations ain’t healthy – especially from juvenile delinquents.

    Din, go help Dr Kam extract that humongous impacted ‘wisdom’ tooth!

  22. To abolish the race based politic in malaysia. we just need to wait till the nation bankrupt and the NEP will be erased automatically from the constitution.

    Hope the event will happen in 2020 and let the umno cronies suck all the money out from Malaysia with the “Ketuaan” Melayu slogan.

    As chinese belief “Wealth can not extend more than 3 generation”

    Hidup Cronies Putra.

  23. Sometime I really wish that this prodigy in the guise of looes74 would be more coherant and consistent in what he is trying to articulate.

  24. Malaysia is a beautiful country blessed with abundant natural resources. But it looks like it is destined to self-destruct if it continues with its racist policies to the detriment of the non-Malays and the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

    The Singapore leaders are deep thinkers and long term planners. They have all angles covered to make sure that the country survives under any situation. They must have figured out many options, I believe.

    Their preferred option is of course to live in peace and harmony and in good friendship with Malaysia for mutual benefits in the long term. The annual(?) four eyes meeting between the PM’s of both countries and the yearly Hari Raya and Chinese New year visit exchanges between HRH the Sultan of Johor and Singapore Ministers attest to this desire to maintain cordial relations and keep up with the personal touch. When you have mutual respect and trust in each other, many issues can be explored should the economic situation demand for it like having a common market, single currency or even re-merger. Nothing is implausible.

    What can trigger war between the two countries? The spark has to come from Malaysia. One has to eschew the notion that Singapore can just be wiped out because of its super smallness. The consequence probably will be a bigger Singapore transplanted on Malaysian soil and still having original Singapore to rebuild. Another possible consequence of war is the breakup of Malaysia with Sabah and Sarawak joining Singapore to form a new Federation.

    Its Malaysia’s call. Take care of the people of Sabah and Sarawak and the non-Malays in Peninsula as well. Don’t push your Malay and Islamisation agenda over the limit. The people should eventually rebel. Malaysia will be in good hands if it is run by moderate leaders like Tun Najib (or Nurul Izzah?) UMNO warlords, Perkasa like elements and poison spewing ulamas should be cut down to size and never given the space to rise up to challenge moderate leadership at any time at all.

  25. Josh Hong, “In other words, would Pakatan Rakyat supporters surrender their demands for greater human rights, vernacular education and political diversity in return for economic achievements as enjoyed by Singaporeans?”

    If PR supporters don’t surrender vernacular education, not only would they not get Singapore’s economic achievements, they would end up with a disunited Malaysia with all her nightmarish consequences.

    We cannot afford another generation of Malaysian kids to grow up not trusting one another. We must have schools for them to grow up together, to get to know and make friends from all races.

    We have to decide whether we want vernacular schools or racial harmony.

    Bearing in mind that mother tongue can still be taught in national schools, plus a high percentage of subjects may be taught in English. These national schools can be made good again.

  26. in this age of abundant and easy information do we really need vernacular schools??? chinese and tamil languages should be offered as compulsory subjects for the respective pupils and BM and English as medium of instruction.

    God, Almighty! please liberate the malaysians from these crooked politicians!

  27. If PR supporters don’t surrender vernacular education, not only would they not get Singapore’s economic achievements, they would end up with a disunited Malaysia with all her nightmarish consequences
    Another Mamak and NEP product statement from the above.

    Kind to elaborate on the unity that can be achieved with the abolishment of vernacular school?
    1) Are you sure the surrender of vernacular education can get Singapore’s economic achievements?
    2) Are you sure those racist NEP headmaster/Profesor can bring Malaysia forward with their dump mentality?
    3) If the Sekolah Kebangsaaan is so good then why most of the minister send their kids to Private school?

    In Malaysia, those racist policies have divided the people and not the education system. Most of the non Bumi hate the discriminate system adopted by the G and did not share the cake despite contributed all the taxes to the G.

    If you are able to observed during the 60 to 80 where we are on par with Singapore with the vernacular school existence during the period of time. The unity is good for all races.

    Don’t be blind to follow what Mamak’ statement that the abolish of Vernacular school can bring unity.

    As LKY said, as long as the race based policy exists where policy favor to 1 party, no unity can be achieved under PR or Umno.

    Get your fact right rather than pinpoint other. The abolishment of vernacular school and the racist NEP “Kangkong” Headmaster/Profesor will produce “half past six” graduates that accelerate the bankruptcy in Malaysia.

    To prove and validate the above point, most of the local university headed by the “Kangkong” NEP professor has produced useless graduates only good at getting the government job.

  28. Singapore has first strike capability and they know the targets they must hit to cripple us.–Din Merican


    I think the Malaysian army also know the targets they must hit to cripple Singapore. I thought you had very high regard for our army.

    On another note, Singaporeans themselves told me that for all the national service they have, during war time no one will want to pick up the weapons and fight. Of course there will still be some, but that’s the mentality of the Singaporeans as a whole that I got to know.

  29. I think it is foolish for Malaysians and Singaporeans to think of attacking each other and still be able to function business as usual. Don’t forget the 800 pound gorilla in our backyard. Are we going to deliver to the Indons what the Ganyang Malaysia campaign failed to achieve?

    Wars do not determine who is right.
    Wars determine what is left.

  30. Did you mentioned Chinese malaysians? That is a very racist comments generalize all of us. Perhaps I would really like you to discuss more about the corruption within the government in Malaysia and how the middle classes are disappearing as a result of cronyism and financial exploitation by the politicians

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