Lee Kuan Yew Malaysia visit roundup

19Jun09

A few final opinions on the fallout from Lee’s trip.  The Star has a piece called Negotiating with Singapore:

Lee offered his advice, whether unsolicited or not, and in not-so-diplomatic language – which is his style – laid out what he expected in return for cooperation with Malaysia.

You see, we are dealing with Singapore and Lee here. Cooperation for its own sake is not enough, there must be a price to cooperation.

Here’s Lee’s price, but it is not likely to be the full list of things that Singapore wants in exchange for a watered down bridge project instead of a replacement of the Causeway, which former prime minister Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad had envisaged.

And a rare positive opinion from the Malay blogosphere by Ahmad Mustapha Hassan, Mahathir’s former press secretary and retired general manager at news agency Mernama:

Whenever Kuan Yew utters anything that deemed to be a slight on Malaysia, voices were raised admonishing him. Malaysia would never dare to face reality. That Singapore had shown that it could survive was a slap on those who believed that Singapore would fold up once it left Malaysia. Therefore it was natural that these doomsayers would try to rationalise their utterances to be in their favour to combat on whatever Kuan Yew commented. …

Lee Kuan Yew believed in calling a spade a spade. I was there in Singapore when the People’s Action Party won the elections in 1959. He was forthright in his briefing to party members as to what was expected of them and what Singapore would face in the future. Ideologically, I did not agree with him. We in the University of Malaya Socialist Club had a different interpretation of socialist reconstruction. But he was a pragmatist and wanted to bring development and welfare to the Singaporeans. Well! He succeeded.

Malaysia was so much embroiled in racial politics and due to the fear of losing political power, all actions taken by the main party in power was never targeted towards bringing wealth to all. Wealth was distributed to the chosen few only. They were the cronies and the backers of the party leadership.

And the Edge finally publishes a detailed schedule, after the trip ended:

Lee Kuan Yew’s eight days in brief

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Lee Kuan Yew’s eight days in brief

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