Lee Kuan Yew urges Muslims to ‘be less strict’

27Jan11

Lee Kuan Yew suggests putting Singapore before Islam.  AFP:

Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew has urged local Muslims to “be less strict on Islamic observances” to aid integration and the city-state’s nation-building process.

Singapore has a predominantly Chinese population, with minority races including Muslim Malays and Indians, and Lee has always stressed the importance of racial harmony.

“I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam,” he said in “Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going,” a new book containing his typically frank views on the city-state and its future.

“I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration — friends, intermarriages and so on…” he stated.

“I think the Muslims socially do not cause any trouble, but they are distinct and separate,” Lee added, calling on the community to “be less strict on Islamic observances.” …

Turning to local politics, Lee said the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), which has been in power since 1959 when Singapore gained political autonomy from colonial ruler Britain, will someday lose its grip on power.

“There will come a time when eventually the public will say, look, let’s try the other side, either because the PAP has declined in quality or the opposition has put up a team which is equal to the PAP… That day will come.”

“In the next 10 years to 20 years, I don’t think it’ll happen. Beyond that, I cannot tell.”

Lee said that despite a survey showing the contrary, he believed Singaporeans were not yet ready for a non-ethnic-Chinese prime minister.

“A poll says 90 percent of Chinese Singaporeans say they will elect a non-Chinese as PM. Yes, this is the ideal. You believe these polls? Utter rubbish. They say what is politically correct,” he stated.

 

 

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35 Responses to “Lee Kuan Yew urges Muslims to ‘be less strict’”

  1. 1 MatKarto

    Coming from muslim family in strict muslim society in Indonesia, I think Lee is indeed right. Orthodox Christians who observe the rules strictly are also also difficult to integrate, fortunately they are very few compare to modern (less observant) Christians. As for muslim, most muslims are still orthodox as they amazingly still follow the centuries rules word by word.

  2. 2 ED SOLOMON

    At the end of the day, matters concerning faith is an idividual problem, among the muslim they shouldn’t force each other to adopt the method in observing the rules of God, some may prefer to be fanatic to reflect the rigidness of staunch believers while others may prefer to adopt mild and soft stand to reflect tolerence believers, they shouldn’t fight over this, if they do, it would defeat the whole purpose of observing God’s rules THAT IS TO ESTABLISH PEACE AND HARMONY IN THE SOCIETY THEY LIVE. both parties should realise that the aim of observing God’s rules is to seek God’s pleasure and favour in this world and in the hereafter, therefore, God’s pleasure and favour is His own EXCLUSIVE RIGHT, as to whom He would be pleased or favoured is non of human business, human business is to try to the best of their ability to observe the rules, not to fight over it, if that were to happen to the extent
    of causing havoc and disorder in the society then the whole purpose of having religion is defeated, GOD WOULD BE DISPLEASED WITH EVERYBODY IN THIS WORLD AND IN THE HEREAFTER.

  3. 3 ED SOLOMON

    At the end of the day, matters concerning faith is an idividual problem, among the muslim they shouldn’t force each other to adopt the method in observing the rules of God, some may prefer to be fanatic to reflect the rigidness of staunch believers while others may prefer to adopt mild and soft stand to reflect tolerence believers, they shouldn’t fight over this, if they do, it would defeat the whole purpose of observing God’s rules THAT IS TO ESTABLISH PEACE AND HARMONY IN THE SOCIETY THEY LIVE. both parties should realise that the aim of observing God’s rules is to seek God’s pleasure and favour in this world and in the hereafter, therefore, God’s pleasure and favour is His own EXCLUSIVE RIGHT, as to whom He would be pleased or favoured is non of human business, human business is to try to the best of their ability to observe the rules, not to fight over it, if that were to happen to the extent
    of causing havoc and disorder in the society then the whole purpose of having religion is defeated, GOD WOULD BE DISPLEASED WITH EVERYBODY IN THIS WORLD AND IN THE HEREAFTER. MAJULAH SINGAPURA!!

  4. 4 Anonymous

    Go to hell!!

  5. 5 Anonymous

    Talking & promoting so much about racial harmony & yet criticizing one’s race/religion!! Whether or not Muslims put their religion 1st or behind Singapore, it got notin to do with how Singapore progresses. Sometimes when u become senile, u dunno wat u tokin about!

  6. 6 Ben Cai

    On the comment on Islam by MM Lee, indeed there is ambiguity on what MM Lee exactly meant. And this is the reason why I urge restraint in our thoughts and actions, to not assume that he meant things in the extreme ways, such as asking Muslim to compromise on their faith, which is wrong as it is not anyone’s right to do so.

    I am saying that there is a possibility that he meant that certain grey areas, could be taken less strictly. For an instance, some Muslims may be uncomfortable sharing a table with people eating non-halal food. This (sharing of table with people eating non-halal food), I believe is not stated in the Islam teachings (please correct me if I am wrong). However, some Muslims may chose to go on the stricter side to not share the table at all. So this is one area that could be “less strict” about, without compromising on the Islam teachings.

    And if you ask me why he did not specifically mention which are the areas to be “less strict” about, I think it is because he believes that Singaporean Muslims are intelligent enough to distinguish between what is necessary and what is not, what will compromise their faith and what will not. I assumed that when someone tells another person what to do and not how to do things, it consist of a certain level of trust. And that is the amount of trust we have for every religion we have in Singapore.

  7. 7 Anonymous

    I just can’t wait to get a copy of his book, read it completely & preserve it till e end of my generation. Let my predecessors know how ungrateful tis iron ruler is. Recall back how he begged Tun Abdul Razak to set Singapore free so tat he can jolly well do wat he can to our beloved country. Tis called in Malay as “kacang lupakan kulit”, means be as nice to get sumtin but once obtained, forget its roots.

    It’s ashamed to call him as a founding father of Singapore. Didn’t he know tat without e support from e Muslim community, among others, he will not succeed tis far?? His mouth is just as filthy as e Long Kangs in Singapore.

  8. 8 Anonymous

    Sorry typo it was meant to be Tunku Abdul Rahman, not Tun Abdul Razak

  9. 9 Anonymous

    say your prayers before god gives you the answer

  10. 10 Anonymous

    “I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam,”

    “I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration — friends, intermarriages and so on…”

    “I think the Muslims socially do not cause any trouble, but they are distinct and separate,”

    These are the phrases quoted from him. Let me comment those phrases to the viewers. :)

    Able to Integrate all religions except islam? The reason being is, Islam has yet to uphold their long preserve practices. He should understand the meaning of limits here. Muslims in Singapore had been very flexible and tolerated all kinds of critics already and yet we are now facing another critic from our father himself. Specificity in his speech has yet to be improved. Is that phrase that stated from him come from statistic saying Muslims scoiety are not socialize? Or is it from his word himself?

    Does intermarrieage helps that much in Singapore’s progression? Muslims in Singapore have limits Yes we agree to that but in a way we are improving the progression too. Why can’t a religion have its own practice uphold whilst keeping the Singapore progression stable?

    We are distinct and seperated? Do we look like we are seperating from one another? Do we implement on having an area populated by muslims only? Singapore is already in harmony. Look around. He wants harmony and he brings up the matter of religion.

    Look at this phrase..
    “A poll says 90 percent of Chinese Singaporeans say they will elect a non-Chinese as PM. Yes, this is the ideal. You believe these polls? Utter rubbish. They say what is politically correct,” he stated.

    Again a proof that he is still having the mindset of Muslims in Singapore being wrong. Muslims dont care who runs the show. As long as they keep thier promises, fair and respect other religion.

  11. 11 Fau

    Why does Lee have a problem with staunch muslims???! Why is nothing commented on staunched buddhist, christians and hindus.
    Let the muslims live our lives the way we want. We r not disturbin anyone. Why comment on our way of lives when we don’t comment on yours!
    Singapore wont be affected in any way by the muslims. There are so much chinese around. So much so that it is known as CHINAPORE!

  12. 12 Fau

    Terrible racist ruler

  13. 13 Deen

    Lee have to remember one thing. Before he wrote this book, back in 1963-1965, during d crucial time, d muslim malays cud choose to support the UMNO but instead they chose to support d PAP because they trusted and believe that LEE will protect their interest. But now and then, malay muslims in singapore, have become an issue of unhappiness. We have been marginalised in every corner. Look 90% of the malay students are in ITE. Look at the banks! How many malays are staffs! Look at the business districts! How few are the malay numbers. Just try stepping into hawker ctr, there are the most 2 stalls. so are the muslims distinct and seperated or is it Lee made us appear in such manner by restricting us in every aspect! So is this a fair comment coming from a modern n intelligent ruler or singapore. Such a modern ruler with such narrow perceptions! Lee shud apologise to the muslims.

  14. 14 anonymous

    well, i think that the muslims has a right to follow their religion
    n it is not right for our minister mentor to go hard on them just because of the rules in their religion.

  15. 15 Sha

    Muslims will be muslims. We will stand firm to our faith and religion. Coz the world is temporary and the afterlife is permanent. Y shud we risk our afterlife by being less strict just for the world? Muslims here dont disturb ppl and will continue to be tat way insya Allah. Islam is our religion and a way of life. We dont disturb ppls life, so dun disturb ours. Simple…!

  16. 16 Shah

    As a ruler, he ought to be FAIR.. “regardless of race, language or RELIGION” remember? But where is the fairness now?

  17. 17 anonymous

    so wat if de ppl wan to poll like dat?? their prblm larh!!
    almk dis mr lee ahh

  18. 18 anonymous

    all i hav to say is,,..
    “WE THE CITIZENS OF SINGAPORE PLEDGE OUR SELVES AS ONE UNITED PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF RACE LANGUAGE OR RELIGION(<—bold that part)"
    wat happened to dat?

  19. 19 Anakjatisingapura

    What is done cannot be undone. Ur (old Lee) insensitive comments left a big deep dent in our lives. Although we Muslims are forgiving, dun take us for granted & undermine us as & when u like it!! Do u noe why isit tat we Malay Muslims difficult to hold high posts in jobs?? Simply becos we were not given a chance!!! I hold a recognized degree, serving e company for 10 years & attained good grades in yearly appraisal had a challenging hell of a time getting promoted, yet a fresh chinese graduate wif no working experience culd hold a post & remuneration much higher. Wat is tis???? Does tat mean we are laid back, way back behind other races or it’s simply racist?? Its a shame tat even for a so-called reputable multi-racial organization tat almost every1 knows practice dirty hidden politics, as dirty as the person who made such insensitive comments!!

  20. 20 Count

    “WE THE CITIZENS OF SINGAPORE PLEDGE OUR SELVES AS ONE UNITED PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF RACE LANGUAGE OR RELIGION(<—bold that part)"

    Erm yeah…. Isn't that EXACTLY what he's saying?

    The fact of the matter is, Islam is one of the strictest religions in SIngapore, and that is of no fault of their own. And as with most religions, when it is strict, or when many follow it strictly, it will be difficult to integrate with those of other religions. (And in this case, races as well). That is a fact, live with it. Try putting a conservative christian and a conservative muslim together. They will probably never be comfortable with each other. And going out for a meal with a Muslim is much more troublesome than with a non-muslim because of their dietary requirements. Which is, once again, of no fault of their own. It is the same with vegetarians. It is merely an obstacle to be overcome, but an obstacle nonetheless. Its not politically correct, but the book wasn't titled 'hard truths' for nothing.

    What Mr Lee is probably saying, is that perhaps Muslims should, as Ben Cai said, be less strict about certain grey-areas. I'm pretty certain that the Quran doesn't state anything about not being able to eat with a non-muslim. That said, try not to order that pork chop when you eat with your Malay friends.

    Also, Sha, if every Malay in Singapore did as you said, then we would effectively have 2 Singapores. And you can be sure that future articles won't just be about sharing tables. Don't be insular. Thats a recipe for disaster. When we DO disturb you, wether accidentally or on purpose, say so, just as the AMP is doing now. Just like all of you are doing now. Letting us know that we've crossed the line is infinitely better than bottling it up and breeding misunderstanding and further resentment.

    Also, regarding the poll. Think about it rationally people. That poll only represented a tiny TINY percentage of Chinese SIngaporeans. Your average Chinese Singaporean will, in all likelihood, NOT vote for a non-chinese PM, all things being equal. And even if they were not, and the non-chinese candidate was better, you would still see a bias against him/her. This I promise you.

    Its not that easy to get rid of racial bias when one has been exposed to it since young. How many times have you heard someone telling a child not to stand next to an Indian because he is apparently 'smelly'? Or that Malays are poor? Or that 'ang mohs' are arrogant? (Sorry but I still can't find out the Chinese equivalent. Kia Su probably.) Disgustingly racist, I know. But common nonetheless. You know this. We aren't as 'united' as we would like to believe.

    Also, I'm quite suspicious about this particular poll. I hope the target population was sufficiently large and encompassing ALL society levels. If it was just a random online poll conducted over a short period, which i suspect it was, then it really should be considered bullsh*t.

  21. 21 Anakjatisingapura

    Hi Count, get ur facts right before u decide to put up a comment. Still got ur secondary school book of history of Singapore? Go & read the book during ur lunar new year yah? Gong Gong Xi Fa Cai! :)

  22. 22 Anakjatisingapura

    Mari kita rakyat Singapura sama-sama menuju, bahagia cita-cita kita yang mulia..eh wat language did I sing this national anthem in ah? Can anybody enlighten me? Tot national anthems were written according to their main language, such as china’s national anthem sung in Chinese, Malaysia sung in Malay language, Thailand in Thai, etc. Im proud to sing my national anthem in front of my foreign clients, do I nid to tell u e reason why? The national anthem explains all. Now let’s sing our national anthem fully & fluently. Can u make it??

  23. 23 Fau to COUNT

    “WE THE CITIZENS OF SINGAPORE PLEDGE OUR SELVES AS ONE UNITED PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF RACE LANGUAGE OR RELIGION(<—bold that part)"

    I din noe being muslims makes the whole Singapore not united!

    What Mr Lee is probably saying, is that perhaps Muslims should, as Ben Cai said, be less strict about certain grey-areas. I'm pretty certain that the Quran doesn't state anything about not being able to eat with a non-muslim. That said, try not to order that pork chop when you eat with your Malay friends.

    To non muslims, it maybe a grey area, but to a staunch muslim, it can be an area of importance. Noone have the rights to tell us what to do or what not to do in our religion. Its our belief n our practices. When u chinese burn ur whatever notes during certain mths n cause Singapore's air to be polluted n uncomfortable, did anyone tell u to be lenient?! No right! Why? Because the ruler is a chinese??!

    Lee Kuan Yew suggests putting Singapore before Islam. 

    What makes He think that we can put Singapore before Islam? Muslims die for Islam!

    Yesterday paper, read what malaysian Mahathir said. Its all
    so true. Not many dare to voice out! Why? We r just so afraid that we will be terrorised by the authority and government.

    Also, regarding the poll. Think about it rationally people. That poll only represented a tiny TINY percentage of Chinese SIngaporeans. Your average Chinese Singaporean will, in all likelihood, NOT vote for a non-chinese PM, all things being equal. And even if they were not, and the non-chinese candidate was better, you would still see a bias against him/her. This I promise you.

    Hey Count, u expect us to believe that. When newpapers facts can be tampered, why not this! I think we need more convincing then this!

    Actually don't people from other religion feel sad that ur religion is so easy to be penetrated in. Readin what Lee kuan yew had written, made me feel proud that my religion is strong, stronger then any others.

  24. 24 ILikeToReadALot

    “I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration — friends, intermarriages and so on…” he stated.

    Yeah….progressing very nicely till it resulted in the surge of corruption/bribery/stealing cases??

    Time for a short quiz..sit back, think and think and think and think y a majority of the culprits came from the same crop. Answers readily given for your reading pleasure, extracted from media sources.

    Holding high posts/titles some more..what a shame!

    1) Question: Who was the Senior SLA Official probed for $11.8 million dollar fraud?

    Answer: Koh Seah Wee, a deputy director with SLA’s Technology and Infrastructure Department and Christopher Lim Chai Meng, a manager in the same department, are suspected to have conspired to cheat SLA of $11.8 million dollars with bogus invoices between January 2008 and March 2010.

    2) Question: Who was the ex-APB manager fined for corruption?

    Answer: In return for successfully recommending Leisure@East Coast, which operates a beach bar, for $30,000 worth of advertising and promotional sponsorship, an accounts manager with Asia Pacific Breweries received $8,000 as a reward. Seven years later, Goh Boon Kok, 42, pleaded guilty to corruption on Monday and was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay a penalty of $8,000 by a district court.

    3) Question: Who was the MD who was fined $55k for corruption offences?

    Answer: A 40—year—old managing director of a landscaping company involved in the Orchard Road Mall enhancement works project was fined S$55,000 for corruption.
    Tan Kok Keong from Kok Keong Landscape gave a bribe of S$1,500 to an arborist, Victorine Noella Vijeysingha, in November 2008.

    4) Question: Who was the former SPD welfare worker who was fined $10k on corruption charges?

    Answer: SINGAPORE: A former welfare programme coordinator of the Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) was fined $10,000 in court Monday morning on three corruption charges.
    Lau Yeow Hui, who is wheelchair bound, was also ordered to pay a penalty of $17,500

    5) Question: Who was the S’pore whistle-blower who was fined than jailed after disclosing bribery?

    Answer: Ang Seng Thor, the former head of AEM-Evertech Holdings Ltd., was fined rather than jailed for corruption by a Singapore judge after disclosing bribes to companies including Seagate Technology Plc.

    6) Question: Who was jailed 5 years for stealing $838k?

    Answer: A law firm’s former Finance and HR Manager was jailed for five years for siphoning $838,200 from the partnership over four-month. In 2007, Sally Ang began making unauthorized transfers from the office account to her personal bank account.

    Too many too list, you can do ur own research lor..no need to give too many examples..self-explanatory. Adios! :-)

  25. 25 ED SOLOMON

    The truths is hard and Singapore cannot keep on going should there be religious opportunists abound be it Muslim or whatever. We have to be careful with our younger generation to ensure that they are not being influnce with wrong ideas by those who abused religion, perhaps we should have legal means to stop religious abused as we do have legal means to stop drug abused.Imagine what would happen to our children supposedly we keep on telling them that this world is only temporary abode, therefore we shouldn’t care so much about it instead we should stand firm by our blind faith this could bring disastrous to the country.

  26. 26 Anonymous

    There would have been racial harmony if there was secularism.
    Unfortunately, there is no secularism because of the discrimination of muslims.
    When a person doesn’t know what the religion is about, then you have no right to say anything about it.How can u just say that Islam should be less stricter?
    When the people of Singapore don’t have any problem then why does the Government have problems??
    In you next article, PLEASE let me know how Islam is strict and why it’s bothering u so much!

  27. 27 Anonymous

    Islam is not affecting the Nation at all.
    The whole article was ridiculous!
    It made no sense.

  28. 28 Anonymous

    There are more important topics to be taken care of.
    Your wasting your time.
    Malays get along just as well as the other races do.
    They are muslims and they have never caused any problem for Singapore.

  29. 29 Arami

    Anyone that believed in what this sick man words is a complete fool…….The evil hairy leech knows very well that they are smelling his asshole and soon will have to eat his stinking shits, lol,lol……

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  1. 1 Tweets that mention Lee Kuan Yew urges Muslims to ‘be less strict’ « Lee Kuan Yew Watch -- Topsy.com
  2. 2 MM’s views on Muslims not Govt’s « Lee Kuan Yew Watch
  3. 3 Malay integration: MM stands corrected « Lee Kuan Yew Watch
  4. 4 Ex-Singapore leader denies Islam slur « Lee Kuan Yew Watch
  5. 5 No ban on Lee Kuan Yew’s book, says Malaysian minister « Lee Kuan Yew Watch

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