Ignore the title, Tommy Koh appears to be the only Singaporean with a pair of testicles today. CNA:
Monday’s event, organized by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, also coincided with the 9th anniversary of the school.
The conference was attended by some 600 thought leaders who included former politicians, academics and diplomats.
The views exchanged were candid and frank, perhaps testament to Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s personality.
He has attracted his fair share of critics, and forum participants didn’t shy away from hard questions.
For example, Ambassordor-At-Large Tommy Koh asked: “When he was Prime Minister, he had a practice of launching defamation suits against opposition leaders after each general election…was this practice by Mr Lee to sue opposition leaders for defamation a wise thing to do?
“When you look at other advanced democracies, I know of no other country in the world where after a general election, the victor will sue the opponent for defamation.
“In an advanced democracy, when an election is over, the vanquished will have the grace to congratulate the victor and the victor will have the magnanimity to forgive his opponent for all the unkind things the opponent has said.
“My question…is not that Mr Lee was not within the law, in suing opponents for defamation, he bankrupted some of them, but was it a wise thing for him to do?”
Singapore’s former Cabinet minister, Professor S Jayakumar, said: “There were defamation suits against politicians but it would be wrong to think he sued only politicians and it’s wrong to think he sued politicians after every general election to drive home a point that he (the opposition politician) should have not stood for the elections…
“Whether it was an opposition politician, whether it was the Far Eastern Economic Review or even a publication, say in Malaysia – he issued a defamation action against The Star publication and was prepared to have it tested in the courts in Kuala Lumpur.
“What is the point he wanted to make? He is prepared for a robust criticism of his policies. He can be criticised for foolishness, maybe even for incompetence, for arrogance, but his red line was – not on reputation and integrity.
“So, whether it’s opposition politician or any other source, if you allege his integrity, say, corruption, for example, he would want to demonstrate that that is a red line, you justify it. He’s prepared to justify his record.
“I know in other jurisdictions, in the cut and thrust of politics, all sorts of accusations are hurled but the threshold is different. But he wanted to establish a threshold here that you have people of integrity, including himself, in government, in Cabinet and they are prepared to defend the integrity.”
There were other so-called myths about Mr Lee that were rebutted by the speakers, among them, that the former prime minister always insisted on getting his way in Cabinet.
Professor Jayakumar, who served in the Cabinet for 27 years, said Mr Lee can be persistent, if not stubborn but he was always “intellectually honest”.
“If you can come up with a contrary view and argue your case, he will listen and prepare to change,” said Professor Jayakumar.
He cited the institution of the Elected Presidency and said that the final shape of that reflected the views of Cabinet ministers. …
Filed under: Conference | 3 Comments
Tags: defamation, heng swee keat, lee kuan yew, tommy koh
Singapore’s founding Prime Minister and former Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew, received a standing ovation from Members of Parliament and Cabinet Ministers in Parliament’s Chamber on Monday on the occasion of his 90th birthday.
The standing ovation came after Leader of the House and Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen delivered a special address to congratulate Mr Lee on the occasion.
Dr Ng noted that Mr Lee has been a member of Singapore’s legislature for 58 years since 1955 when he was elected into the first Legislative Assembly of Singapore.
“But it is what Mr Lee has accomplished for Singapore over that lifetime of service and struggle that is astonishing and without peer,” said Dr Ng.
On behalf of all Members, Dr Ng expressed Singaporeans’ profound admiration and gratitude on Mr Lee’s birthday.
Filed under: Event | 1 Comment
Tags: 90, birthday, lee kuan yew, parliament
More Lee worship, as always printed by SPH. ST:
A bilingual pictorial book that chronicles the life of Mr Lee Kuan Yew was launched on Friday, to commemorate his 90th birthday on Sept 16.
Titled Lee Kuan Yew: A Life in Pictures, the 268-page book contains a curated collection of about 480 photographs.
It includes more than 100 never-before-published pictures, some from Mr Lee’s personal and family albums that capture private moments between Singapore’s first prime minister and his late wife Kwa Geok Choo, as well as their three children.
The book is published by Straits Times Press, the book publishing subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings. A copy was presented to Mr Lee at his Istana office on Friday by SPH CEO Alan Chan.
Filed under: Event, Spotted | 1 Comment
Tags: book, lee kuan yew, life in pictures, pictorial, sph
Sycophancy kicks into overdrive as Lee’s 90th birthday approaches, with an organisation Lee founded awarding him, but the man himself is absent. CNA:
Singapore’s founding Prime Minister and former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was on Thursday presented with the Business China Lifetime Achievement Award in celebration of his upcoming 90th birthday on September 16. …
The event was an occasion to remember and recognise many of the initiatives which Mr Lee had launched over the years to support the Chinese community in Singapore.
Mr Lee had wanted to attend the event, but his doctors have advised him to avoid large gatherings as a precautionary health measure. …
Speaking to some 800 business and political leaders at the event, the chairman of Business China and president of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, Chua Thian Poh, said the ‘Singapore model’ developed by Mr Lee has been highly regarded and widely replicated.
The success of this model has helped Singapore play an instrumental role internationally.
Mr Chua noted that among the major initiatives launched by Mr Lee were the Speak Mandarin Campaign, the set-up of the Chinese Development Association and the launch of Business China in 2007.
Filed under: Event | 1 Comment
Tags: award, birthday, business china, lee kuan yew
Lee Kuan Yew gets a head start on celebrating his own birthday. ST:
Although he was feeling unwell, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew yesterday continued his perfect record of turning up at every National Day dinner of his Tanjong Pagar ward.
Mr Lee, who turns 90 next month, was feeling weak yesterday but refused to miss the dinner with his residents.
While there, he then went through the entire planned programme, which included delivering a 10-minute speech.
Mr Lee’s effort was clearly appreciated by the gathering of 900 people who broke out into loud cheers and applause when he arrived.
Filed under: Event | 1 Comment
Tags: bilingualism, birthday, lee kuan yew, national day, tanjong pagar
Lee lambasts the opposition again. Yahoo! News:
Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew says Member of Parliament (MP) for Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC) Chen Show Mao has not lived up to expectations.
In his new book titled “One Man’s View of the World”, the former minister mentor said that with credentials such as being an international corporate lawyer, The Workers’ Party (WP) MP appeared to be a “talented person” in the 2011 general election.
However, Lee said Chen “has not turned out to be so brilliant.”
“In Parliament, he [Chen] makes good prepared speeches, with a written script, but in the follow-up, he is all over the place. It simply does not gel for him,” said Lee.
He added, “The weight of public expectation of the man, given his rather impressive résumé, has probably added to the disappointment.” …
“Can the opposition produce the likes of the younger generation of PAP ministers, never mind the likes of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong or Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam?” asked Lee.
He also warned that if Singapore decides to move towards a two-party system, then the people are “destined for mediocrity”.
“The biggest problem with the two-party system is that once it is in place, the best people will choose not to be in politics. Getting elected will be a dicey affair,” he pointed out.
Filed under: Quotes | 5 Comments
Tags: aljunied, chen show mao, lee kuan yew, one man's view of the world, opposition, singapore
The cult of personality has taken form with a bust that resembles Homer Simpson. At least Lee had the courtesy not to show up, but expect much more of this after he dies. CNA:
The Singapore University of Technology and Design is now home to a bronze bust of former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.
It is a gift from the Lyon-Singapore Association and the Municipality of Lyon.
The sculpture, weighing about 80 kilogrammes, was unveiled at the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities in the Singapore University of Technology and Design on Tuesday.
It is a tribute to Mr Lee for his outstanding accomplishments to Singapore and the world.
The bronze bust, which is given as a token of friendship between France and Singapore, is intended to be an early birthday present for Mr Lee, whose birthday falls on September 16.
Its creator, French artist Nacéra Kainou, said she made it by referring to photographs as she has never met Mr Lee in person. She is the first person to make a sculpture of Mr Lee.
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Tags: cult of personality, lee kuan yew, lyon, sculpture, singapore
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.”
Filed under: Quotes | 1 Comment
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.
Filed under: Book review | 1 Comment
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.
Filed under: Quotes, Spotted | 3 Comments
Tags: birth rate, fertility, lee kuan yew, one man's view of the world, population, singapore, stop at two