Malaysia is prepared to lose its talent through its race-based policies in order to maintain the dominance of one race, said Lee Kuan Yew in his new book which was launched tonight in Singapore.
And although Malaysia has acknowledged the fact that they are losing these talents and is making an attempt to lure Malaysians back from overseas, such efforts may be too little too late, he said.
“This is putting the country at a disadvantage. It is voluntarily shrinking the talent pool needed to build the kind of society that makes use of talent from all races.
“They are prepared to lose that talent in order to maintain the dominance of one race,” he said in the 400-page book called “One Man’s View of the World”. …
When announcing the five-year plan for Malaysia, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Parliament in 2011, the government would set up a talent corporation to lure some 700,000 Malaysians working abroad back to the country.
But in his book, Lee said the demographic changes in Malaysia will lead to a further entrenchment of Malay privileges.
He noted that in the last 10 years, since the enactment of the New Economic Policy, the proportion of Malaysian Chinese and Indians of the total population has fallen dramatically.
“The Chinese made up 35.6 percent of the population in 1970. They were down to 24.6 percent at the last census in 2010. Over that same period, the Indian numbers fell from 10.8 percent to 7.3 percent,” he said.
He added, “40 percent of our migrants are from Malaysia.
“Those with the means to do so leave for countries farther afield. In the early days, Taiwan was a popular destination among the Chinese-educated.
“In recent years, Malaysian Chinese and Indians have been settling in Europe, America and Australia. Some have done very well for themselves, such as Penny Wong, Australia’s current finance minister.
“Among those who have chosen to remain in Malaysia, some lack the means to leave and others are making a good living through business despite the discriminatory policies. Many in this latter class partner with Malays who have connections.”
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Tags: bumiputra, emigration, lee kuan yew, malay privileges, Malaysia, one man's view of the world, race politics
Malaysia Chronicle gives the first non-sugar-coated review:
Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad is more used to ‘dishing’ it out to his foes. The 88-year-old is seldom at the receiving end, partly because most people who know him would also know better than to cross him.
Mahathir is also famous for his selective memory, which is what his counterpart across the causeway – the 90-year-old Lee Kuan Yew – is also known for. Both men are notorious for their vindictive streak towards their opponents, whether past, present or even future.
So when both men who openly dislike each other began to trade barbs, it was quite expected and considered quite ‘normal’. …
While Kuan Yew cheerfully whacked away at Mahathir in his usual no-holds-barred style, nothing that he wrote in his new book One Man’s View of the World about Dr M was really new.
It was just Kuan Yew repeating his views in a more direct way than usual about how Mahathir’s misguided policies had and were still ruining Malaysia.
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Tags: lee kuan yew, mahathir mohamed, malaysia chronicle, one man's view of the world
Lee disclaims responsibility for the results of his own policy. Malay Mail:
Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew has denied his policies were to blame for the city’s low birth rate, and said financial handouts for young couples would not solve the problem.
In excerpts from a new book to be launched later today, Lee insisted that the reluctance of couples to have more children was the result of changed lifestyles and mindsets, which no amount of financial perks could alter.
Despite a slew of so-called “baby bonuses” to encourage couples to have children, Singapore’s total fertility rate last year stood at 1.20 children per woman, far below the 2.1 needed to maintain the native-born population.
The former prime minister, who retired from politics in 2011 and turns 90 next month, rejected as “absurd” suggestions that his “Stop At Two” children campaign in the 1970s played a part in the decline of current fertility rates.
Fearing that a population explosion would hit growth and overwhelm infrastructure, Lee’s government instituted the tough measures to persuade young couples to have only two children.
The government legalised abortion, encouraged voluntary sterilisation and introduced disincentives for larger families wanting to live in public housing.
Large monetary incentives would only have a “marginal effect” in correcting the low fertility rate, he added.
“I cannot solve the problem, and I have given up,” he wrote in his book entitled One Man’s View of the World.
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Tags: birth rate, fertility, lee kuan yew, one man's view of the world, population, singapore, stop at two
A new book by former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew will be launched on Aug 6. Titled One Man’s View of the World, the 400-page volume covers Mr Lee’s views on the future of the major powers and regions of the world. He also writes about the global economy and climate change, and reflects candidly on life and death.
The final chapter of the book captures a series of conversations between Mr Lee and his old friend, former chancellor of West Germany, Helmut Schmidt. The two met to discuss international affairs over three days in May 2012 when Mr Schmidt was in Singapore.
A team from The Straits Times provided research and editorial material, and conducted a series of interviews with Mr Lee. Excerpts of these interviews are included in each of the eleven chapters.
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Tags: book, helmut schmidt, Interview, lee kuan yew, one man's view of the world, straits times press
Nothing much new here, except the caricature. Gulf News:
If he played chess, you could call Lee Kuan Yew the grand master of the game. It was his vision, drive and single-mindedness that set the small island state on a course of stubborn independence, turning the trading post into an international powerhouse of shipping, trade, commerce, banking, tourism and industry while keeping its principles at the fore.
But chess is a Russian game. For Yew, a master of the traditional board game maejong would be a better analogy given his and his island’s Asian ties.
There is a Chinese proverb: Do not judge a man until his coffin is closed. Though he may be nearing the end of his long life, he’s unwilling to decide on his legacy. …
“So, when is the last leaf falling?” as the man who made Singapore in his own stern and unsentimental image, contemplating age, infirmity and loss.
“I can feel the gradual decline of energy and vitality,” he said in a recent interview. His ‘Singapore model’ of economic growth and tight social control made him one of the most influential political figures of Asia. “And I mean generally, every year, when you know you are not on the same level as last year. But that’s life.” …
“We don’t have the ingredients of a nation, the elementary factors,” he said in an interview with the International Herald Tribune, “a homogeneous population, common language, common culture and common destiny.”
Younger people worry him, with their demands for more political openness and a free exchange of ideas, secure in their well-being in modern Singapore. “They have come to believe that this is a natural state of affairs, and they can take liberties with it,” he said. “They think you can put it on auto-pilot. I know that is never so.”
The kind of open political combat they demand would inevitably open the door to race-based politics, he said, and “our society will be ripped apart.” …
“I’m not saying that everything I did was right,” he said, “but everything I did was for an honourable purpose. I had to do some nasty things, locking fellows up without trial.”
Filed under: Commentary, Quotes | 7 Comments
Tags: caricature, grand master, gulf news, lee kuan yew, singapore
Former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew planted a rain tree at Holland Village Park on Sunday, continuing a what has become an unbroken 50-year tradition.
On the same day in 1963, Mr Lee planted a mempat tree at Farrer Circus, then a traffic roundabout, to signify the start of an island-wide tree-planting campaign.
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Tags: holland village, lee kuan yew, tree planting
Lee Kuan Yew pops up in public after an absence of several months. No video, no speeches, only photos. ST:
The National University of Singapore (NUS) has conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws on Singapore’s first Prime Minister.
The award is in recognition of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s achievements as a visionary statesman who transformed education in Singapore and led the nation to first-world status on the global stage.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who is also NUS chancellor, presided over the ceremony at the Istana on Tuesday. An honorary Doctor of Laws degree is the university’s highest accolade for outstanding individuals.
This is Mr Lee’s 16th honorary degree but his first from a Singapore university. Among the 100 guests in attendance were Mr Lee’s family: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, their wives, and Dr Lee Wei Ling.
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Tags: honorary degree, lee kuan yew, national university of singapore, nus
They crammed into an art cafe in Singapore and pulled no punches, deriding authoritarian officials who ruled with an “iron fist” and complaining that government ministers with million-dollar salaries were out of touch.
One woman, a middle-aged professional, got nods of agreement when she said modern Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, had done great things but that new ways were needed from current leaders still practising a “do-as-I-say style of parenting”.
Singapore remains regimented but the unusually frank criticism at the recent gathering, part of a government-run national “conversation” about the city state’s future, reflects the reality that this is no longer the era of Lee Kuan Yew.
LKY, as he is widely known, built the tiny Southeast Asian island into one of the world’s wealthiest nations with a strong, pervasive role by the state and no patience for dissent.
Now 89 and in declining health, LKY has receded from the public and political scene, leaving the government of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, his elder son, to deal with economic and social challenges roiling the country of 5.3 million people.
“The time has come for a younger generation to carry Singapore forward in a more difficult and complex situation,” LKY said in 2011 as he resigned from the cabinet after the ruling party suffered its worst election result in history.
Saying they feel inundated by foreign workers and priced out of their own homeland, Singaporeans are angry. And with the hugely respected figure of LKY retired from the political stage, they are no longer hesitant to show it.
In online chatrooms, letters to state-linked newspapers and at the “Our Singapore Conversation” sessions, they are pressing for answers from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) which is doing more to listen but struggling with how to change after five decades in power.
Despite the new climate of open criticism, there is still some trepidation about speaking out in front of journalists. At the recent “conversation” session, the organisers asked Reuters not to identify the participants so they could talk freely without being intimidated by the presence of a foreign reporter.
LKY’s long-standing openness to foreign workers clashes with the current mood and detractors decry his paternalistic and stern ways, including defamation lawsuits against critics.
But his legacy as Singapore’s first prime minister for 31 years and then advisor emeritus is not in doubt.
Last August, rumours spread that LKY was gravely ill or had died. When he disproved the chatter by appearing at the National Day parade, the flag-waving crowd erupted into cheers.
In February, he was hospitalised when an irregular heartbeat interrupted the flow of blood to his brain. But he turned up at a forum a month later and took the stage with Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Replying to questions about U.S.-China relations, Europe’s woes and Asia’s future, LKY showed his intellect remains intact and powerful. But his speech was slow and sometimes difficult to understand. Many of his answers were short and trailed off.
Volcker prompted nervous laughter from the crowd when he said: “Singapore is going to have to adjust to Lee Kuan Yew at some point not being the guide.”
“VESTED IN THE SYSTEM”
That adjustment is already happening, senior officials say, with LKY leaving the current leaders to set policies without him pulling the strings. The pace of change is the big question.
Hit by voter discontent in 2011 and again in a by-election in January, the PAP must walk a fine line in pacifying the public’s concerns without abandoning policies that have created a financial powerhouse where stability and an ease of doing business are magnets for investors and multinational companies.
“We have to work in a more open way. We have to accept more of the untidiness and the to-ing and fro-ing, which is part of normal politics,” Prime Minister Lee told the Washington Post.
“It is a major change, of course, which we hope we will be able to navigate safely over a period of time and not suddenly.”
While the PAP’s majority in parliament has shrunk to 80 of 87 elected seats, few expect the opposition to prevail in the next election in 2016. But as the PAP charts the way ahead, there are internal differences over what approach to take, senior officials say.
Some of those divisions were on display in parliament in February over a government document that envisioned the population swelling by as much as 30 percent by 2030, largely due to more foreigners, to maintain economic growth.
“I have very serious reservations about the white paper,” PAP member Tin Pei Ling said during the five-day debate.
Inderjit Singh, also from the PAP, said: “Our past decade of rapid population growth has already created too many problems which need to be solved first before we take the next step.”
During LKY’s time, it was very rare for PAP politicians and civil servants to publicly voice any difference of opinion. But the new scope for dissent extends only so far.
In the end, no PAP member voted against the white paper and it passed by a 77-13 margin. Singh was not present for the vote.
Despite the unusually heated debate, the outcome illustrates why speculation may be overblown about a split in the ruling party or major shifts in policy when LKY is no longer around.
“They still have this pretty much authoritarian kind of mindset,” said Kumaran Pillai, a businessman and former chief editor of The Online Citizen, a popular public affairs website.
“I don’t think the split would happen so soon. The main reason is a lot of PAP cadre members, grassroots members and the elite are vested in the system and they aren’t going to let it fall apart just because Lee Kuan Yew has passed away.”
“MORE OPPOSITION VOICES”
The government has taken steps to restrict immigration, cool the property market, build up infrastructure and broaden social safety nets. But it did itself no favours with the population white paper which sent public anger into overdrive and, for many, reaffirmed the PAP’s reputation for prescriptive policies.
“I just want more opposition voices,” said Brendan Mok, a university student with a dragon tattoo on his arm. “At the same time, I don’t feel the opposition is solid enough for anything that could deliver positive change. But we do want more debate.”
Mok and his friend Ron Ho, who both voted for the opposition in 2011, said the priority was to narrow income inequalities and address concerns about housing, good jobs and living costs.
“A lot of Singaporeans aren’t happy and one of the reasons is because there’s a lot of status anxiety here,” said Ho.
With the PAP under pressure to listen, the year-old “Our Singapore Conversation” is assuming greater resonance.
In a Singaporean twist, the dialogue about the role of the state is organised by the government at venues such as The Connoisseur Concerto, a boutique cafe where about 50 people from diverse backgrounds recently gathered.
Crowded around low tables, they tucked into a buffet dinner and then engaged in a feisty chat about the PAP listening but not really changing and about well-paid officials being out of touch with anxiety over public transport and home prices.
“They don’t take the train, they don’t take taxis, they don’t live in HDBs,” said one woman, referring to the state-built Housing & Development Board apartments where most Singaporeans live. “So how do they know?”
Lee Kuan Yew, who continues to espouse the need for immigrants and scolds Singaporeans for not having enough babies, is also seen as out of touch as citizens challenge the government’s top-down approach and demand their voices be heard.
With characteristic bluntness, he summed up his own legacy in the book “Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going” published in 2011, just before the election that led to his retirement.
“It’s irrelevant to me what young Singaporeans think of me,” he said. “I’ve lived long enough to know that you may be idealised in life and reviled after you’re dead.”
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Tags: lee kuan yew, pap, people's action party, singapore, succession
Lee Kuan Yew makes his first appearance since his hospitalisation. CNA:
Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said that one key factor for Singapore’s success is the confidence people have in the country.
Mr Lee was speaking at a dialogue organised by Standard Chartered Bank on Wednesday evening.
Joining Mr Lee for the dialogue were former chairman of the US Federal Reserve and former chairman of US President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Paul Volcker, as well as Standard Chartered’s group chief executive Peter Sands.
Mr Lee said investors have confidence because of Singapore’s sound institutions, and to build them the country must have a stable government.
Mr Lee said he does not see any developments that will change that situation in the short term of five, 10 or 20 years.
“It will be very stupid of us to shake that confidence. The confidence rests on several pillars – institutions, sound policies by the government – you can always predict what we are going to do in any given situation, and an open trading area,” said Mr Lee.
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Tags: confidence, institutions, lee kuan yew, paul volcker
A Wise Man for the World: Singapore’s philosopher-king on an ascendant China, the threat of Islamism and America’s entitlements crisis
A more positive review from the Wall Street Journal:
China already dominates Asia and intends to become the world’s leading power. The United States is not yet a “second rate power,” but the inability of its political leaders to make unpopular decisions bodes poorly. Russia, Japan, Western Europe and India are, for the most part, tired bureaucracies. If Iran gets the bomb, a nuclear war in the Middle East is almost inevitable.
These are among the many frank forecasts laid out in a slim volume based on the experiences and insights of Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore, its prime minister from 1959 to 1990, and Asia’s ranking philosopher-king for much of the past half-century. Tiny Singapore has always been too small a stage for a leader of Mr. Lee’s intellect and ego. His interests have extended across the globe, as has his influence. For decades, world leaders, corporate CEOs, scholars and journalists have made the pilgrimage to Singapore to seek his views.
“Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World” forms a kind of last testament of the ailing, 89-year-old Mr. Lee. It is based on interviews with Mr. Lee by the authors—Graham Allison, a professor of government at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and Robert Blackwill, a former U.S. diplomat—to which the authors add a distillation of Mr. Lee’s speeches, writings and interviews with others over many years.
The book focuses forward on Mr. Lee’s prognostications, not backward on his accomplishments. Messrs. Allison and Blackwill refrain from commentary on the man and his ideas, letting readers interpret for themselves. The downside of such restraint is that “Lee Kuan Yew” doesn’t truly convey Mr. Lee’s combative candor or the exceptional subtlety of mind that I was privileged to experience in my own interviews with Mr. Lee over two decades. It was his combination of penetrating brilliance about the wider world and prickly pettiness in his own Singaporean laboratory (e.g., banning two Dow Jones publications for the sin of free expression) that made him so fascinating. …
The Chinese language itself—which “is exceedingly difficult for foreigners to learn sufficiently to embrace China and be embraced by its society”—is another obstacle to China’s great-power aspirations. So is a culture that does not “permit a free exchange and contest of ideas.” (Mr. Lee adopted English as Singapore’s national language; he never fully adopted free expression.)
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Tags: china, grand master's insights, lee kuan yew, united states, wall street journal, wsj