Remembering the Asian Statesman: Lee Kuan Yew


October 10, 2015

Remembering the Asian Statesman: Lee Kuan Yew

Farewell, Mr. Lee Kuan YewA little bit of history will not harm anyone. That sounds trite. I feel that history is about repeat itself, particularly in Malaysia. It would appear that we seem to forget its lessons. Why? Simply it is because our leadership and public officials and pundits are not grounded in reality.

Our Prime Minister, Najib Razak, is unable to deal with our national problems, preferring to delude himself with his spins and lies, and recklessly clinging to power with the support of his fawning public officials, and doing all he can to prolong his hold on power and postponing the inevitable.

Today, Najib Tun Razak, is the most unpopular (and hen pecked too) Prime Minister in our country’s history and has to resort to draconian laws and repressive measures to silence his critics in civil society. I wonder how long he can continue to stay in his job when our economy is slowing down and when will UMNO Malays  wake up to realise that their President can longer lead our country.–Din Merican

15 thoughts on “Remembering the Asian Statesman: Lee Kuan Yew

  1. “Remembering the Asian Statesman: Lee Kuan Yew”

    Yes indeed, great quote from LKY’s dedication to create a successful Singapore.

    “Legacy is not what’s left tomorrow when you’re gone…
    It is what you give, create, impact and contribute today while you’re here…
    that then happens to live on” – Rasheed Ogunlaru

    For Jibby…

    “…When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife — as we’ve seen in Burundi. (Applause.) And this is often just a first step down a perilous path.

    And sometimes you’ll hear leaders say, well, I’m the only person who can hold this nation together. (Laughter.) If that’s true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation. (Applause.)

    You look at Nelson Mandela — Madiba, like George Washington, forged a lasting legacy not only because of what they did in office, but because they were willing to leave office and transfer power peacefully. (Applause.)

    And just as the African Union has condemned coups and illegitimate transfers of power, the AU’s authority and strong voice can also help the people of Africa ensure that their leaders abide by term limits and their constitutions. (Applause.)

    Nobody should be president for life.

    And your country is better off if you have new blood and new ideas. (Applause.) I’m still a pretty young man, but I know that somebody with new energy and new insights will be good for my country. (Applause.) It will be good for yours, too, in some cases”.

    You be the judge.

  2. /// Today, Najib Tun Razak, is the most unpopular (and hen packed too) Prime Minister… ///

    Din, I think there is a typo here – should be hen-pecked, but goon-packed (his cabinet packed with goons).

  3. /// Frankie Leung October 10, 2015 at 6:54 am
    Lee provokes admiration and disgusts among Asians. ///

    Frankie, that is not saying much. You can say that of any public figure throughout history.
    ________ provokes admiration and disgusts among ________ (fill in the blanks).

    The main criterion should be how many admire him and how many are disgusted by him. 50:50 or 99:1 or 10:90? It would be more objective to list his credits and debits. No one is perfect, but I would admire a leader whose credit side is much longer than his debit side.

  4. A corrupt leader could do nothing unless he is supported by a coterie of people who has to prop him up as they are dependent on him to sustain their unsavoury activities. However, ” it takes only good men to do nothing for tyranny to persist”. If you give a leader power it corrupts him, and hand into him absolute power, it will corrupt him absolutely.

    Courtesy of Edmund Burke and Lord Acton.

  5. “It would be more objective to list his credits and debits”

    Uh-huh except when it comes to Harry and a certain demographic nobody ever thinks objectively. His debits are justified as credits and pecuniary benchmarks are deemed sufficient [in Singapore’s case] but yet other benchmarks based on whatever “human rights” are in vogue at the moment are used for other countries, like Malaysia for example.

  6. Quote:- “If you give a leader power it corrupts him, and hand into him absolute power, it will corrupt him absolutely”

    The test then, vis-a-vis LKY, is has power corrupted him, whether absolutely or otherwise.

  7. Mr Frankie Leung:

    There are also (1) “grudging admiration” and the
    (2) Chairman Mao formula (I think it was 70% good and 30% bad, according to the CCP) 🙂

    Taking a longer view, if “global warming” and SLR (sea level rise) continues apace, perhaps in a hundred years or even less, Singapore will only consist of Bukit Timah and perhaps some artificial floating islands ?
    Sinkapore ?

  8. Dato, I know it is frivolous but a typo here ; ” hen-pecked ” rather than ” hen packed “. Deadline and Date-Line 🙂

  9. Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) could have been certainly defeated by the Leftists given a level playing field. But the Tunku (the Malayan Government) and the British, who were pushing for the formation of Malaysia along with LKY, which the Leftists strongly opposed, helped LKY to detain all his left-wing opponents in Operation Coldstore under the Internal Security Act. Subsequently when there were indications of leftist front revival, the second line of their leadership were also locked up giving them a knock out blow.

    When the leftists realised that Malaysia was unstoppable, they changed tack and quibbled over the terms of merger. They wanted a simple yes or no voting choice to be given to the people to oppose or accept Merger in a Referendum but this was rejected and in the end the people of Singapore voted in favour of Merger overwhelmingly.

    Just after one year of Malaysia coming into being, political differences between the PAP and Federal Governments took a turn for the worse raising racial tension with UMNO Ultras calling for LKY’s arrest. Tunku tried working on a compromise solution by sending LKY as Malaysia’s envoy to the UN and getting Toh Chin Chye or Goh Keng Swee to replace LKY as PM in Singapore. This was rejected by the PAP leaders culminating in Singapore’s expulsion from Malaysia.

    There was every possibility of Tunku engineering an electoral defeat for LKY and PAP in Singapore and yet retain the Island within Malaysia. Perhaps this very idea and to how to go about it did not occur to him or any of his advisers then. It is to be noted that at this point in time, that the key Barisan Socialis leaders (Lim Chin Siong and his comrades) were under detention both in Singapore and across the mainland. Since their past quarrel was over the terms of merger and not Malaysia as per se, Tunku could have struck a secret deal with them which they would have accepted with glee.

    The plan would be to release all of them immediately and give them some six months to work the ground in Singapore. Thereafter arrest LKY and declare emergency rule in Singapore. Six months later call for election and let the Barisan take on the PAP one to one. With the people (a majority of them at least), business houses and central government dropping all support for the PAP, the Barisan would have probably won the election easily.

  10. Hawking,
    In short, LKY was right in his assessment of Tunku. Tunku always wanted to win. Look at how Tunku got rid of Dinald Stephen, culminating to massive problems Sabah is facing today. Seriously, Sabahan natives are perhaps too docile. It should have been a northern ireland style of situation if these natives were to be like Gerry Adam or Martin Mcguiness.
    Martin Mcguiness is now the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland that has the same power as the First Minister just like Hun Sen and Ranarrith ra

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