Kuan Yew’s trip to Malaysia next week sparks cynicism

08Jun09

A refreshingly frank Malaysian analysis of what Lee’s Malaysia trip actually means.  Suara Keadilan:

A proposed visit by Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew is being trumpeted by Malaysian premier Najib Razak as a ringing endorsement for his newly-installed administration, but has raised cynicism amongst veteran analysts who questioned the motives of both leaders.

“Firstly, it is great to see Kuan Yew in Malaysia after so long. But secondly, after having said that, he really must remember to keep his mouth shut,” said Ramon Navaratnam, chairman of Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute.

“Thirdly, he should also take this trip as an opportunity to meet old friends and to regale them with old stories. Fourthly, he should stay far away from trying to interfere with the domestic political scene.” …

“Obviously, this is a ‘scratch my back and I will yours back’ visit,” said an economist at a large local bank, who asked not to be named.

“But Malaysia has gone far ahead of Singapore in the democracy curve. There is now the prospect of the  Pakatan Rakyat coming to power and installing a new regime less mired by the decades-old problems of corruption and racism.

“If this happens, it can bring about a new investment climate that can pose a real challenge to Singapore, which has less resources than Malaysia in every way. So it would be in the interest of the PAP to badmouth the recent electoral developments in Malaysia and push the case back home that a healthy opposition destabilises.”

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