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Fwd: MGG/BBC - Mr Lee Reveals Some Home Truths
By web aNtu
19/8/2000 5:26 am Sat
[MGG] Mr Lee Reveals Some Home Truths
Mr Lee could not bridge that, and the two leaders retreated to
statements of intent. Neither could he provide the desperate succour the
Prime Minister needs. The official statements aside, little of substance
emerged. Mr Lee could not have done more than what he did. He remains
out of date with developments in Malaysia. He is closed to the finance
minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin; but this man's views is conditioned to
personal survival, and hence out of kilter. Even with the immense
resources of the state, he believed, until recently, the Malay remains in
his shell, subject to such irrationality as forced him out of Singapore in
1965. But his visit does appear to have changed his perspective.
His press conference yesterday (17 August 00) brought all this to the
fore. He would have learnt, at first hand, the Prime Minister's political
ostracisation. Mr Lee had to somersault: only three years ago, Singapore
had its hopes on Dato' Seri Anwar, whose political difficulties forced a
gymnastic sleight-oh-hand to put all its eggs in the Prime Minister's
basket. It caught Singapore flatfooted when Dato' Seri Anwar was sacked,
arrested under the Internal Security Act, beaten up by the
Inspector-General of Police, and eventually, under dubious judicial
circumstances, to jail that destroys not him but the Prime Minister.
Clearly, Mr Lee did not succeed in his mission. He called the Anwar
affair "an unmitigated disaster" in which the Prime Minister made "most
unfortunate" errors of judgement. After all, "we have extremely close
ties with the leaders in Malaysia, "including Anwar" when he was deputy
prime minister, and we know each and every one of them very well". He
told reporters he was flabbergasted when Dr Mahathir told him he did not
know Dato' Seri Anwar would be under the Internal Security Act, since
whether he was or not was the prerogative of the Inspector-General of
Police. "I thought it was the beginning of a series of blunders that cost
him dearly," he added.
Mr Lee's contempt for those who questioned the government's version
of the Grik arms heist, and for the Malaysian defence ministry's
"sandiwara" on "how to stack the rifles and ammunition of the same
quantity that was seized, into three Pajeros" in four minutes. He himself
was in no doubt what he would do if people doubted the Singapore
government version, if this had happened in Singapore, and reiterated his
stirring commitment to press freedom: "If any of my journalists cast
doubts after we lost two officers, I would put them against the wall and
say 'ten of the best'. It is ridiculous." He could also not understand
"why there is this questioning of the Government. I think the problem is
that there is too mucyh cynicism. I don't know how this has arisen." Mr
Lee did not mention it, but the Prime Minister is caught in a trap of his
The PAP in Singapore reorganised the state in its own image in its
four decades in office, replacing the British colonial system with one of
its own, with an emphasis on governance which emphasises not political but
administrative dominance. UMNO, which came to power almost as an
extension of the Malay community dissipated its goodwill with an arrogance
that now costs it dear. The Prime Minister understood the Malay mind, but
not, like Mr Lee, the cultural nuances, breached the latter at his peril.
Mr Lee said the same thing in different words at the press conference,
although he does not believe in this inherent strength of the Malay
community, which he believes can be modified to the prevailing worldview.
He could in Singapore, but not in Malaysia. He left many clues in his
public statements and the press conference that Singapore must move to the
centre in this political dispute. Too much is at stake. Dato' Seri Anwar
refuses to go away from the Malay cultural worldview, is, in Mr Lee's
words, an icon which would fuel PAS and the other opposition parties. Mr
Lee came to Kuala Lumpur as a Greek bearing gifts. The Prime Minister now
knows this only too well.
Subject: BBC: Dr Mahathir's 'unmitigated disaster'
Dr Mahathir's 'unmitigated disaster'
Anwar is serving sentences totalling 15 years By South-East
Asia correspondent Simon Ingram
Singapore's senior statesman, Lee Kuan Yew, has accused Malaysian Prime
Minister Mahathir Mohammed of making serious mistakes in his handling of
the dismissal and detention of his then deputy Anwar Ibrahim.
Mr Lee, who holds the title of Senior Minister, was speaking during his
first visit to Malaysia in 10 years.
It is rare for Asian leaders to voice public criticism of the way their
peers handle internal political issues, but Lee Kuan Yew and Dr Mahathir,
despite sharing many personal characteristics and views, have a tense
personal relationship stretching back many years.
Speaking on the final day of a rare visit to Kuala Lumpur, Mr Lee spoke
bluntly about Dr Mahathir's dismissal of his then deputy, Anwar Ibrahim,
in September 1998 - an event which triggered a period of unusual political
turmoil in Malaysia.
Mr Lee said that among several unfortunate errors of judgement, the
Malaysian prime minister allowed Mr Anwar to be detained under the
Internal Security Act rather than on straightforward criminal charges.
In addition, Mr Lee said Dr Mahathir failed to set up an immediate
commission of inquiry into the beating Mr Anwar received shortly after his
The two-year saga, he concluded, was an "unmitigated disaster" for which
Dr Mahathir had paid a heavy price.
Mr Lee said he felt sorry for the Malaysian leader, but many will suspect
that his comments reflect his well-known concern about the boost which the
Anwar affair has given to Malaysia's pro-Islamist opposition and the
possible long-term effects on multi-racial Singapore.
In an interview earlier this week, Mr Lee said Mr Anwar would remain what
he termed an icon for Malaysia's main Islamist party, PAS.
Mr Anwar was sentenced to nine years this month for s###my and is already
serving six years for corruption.
He claims the charges were fabricated as part of a political conspiracy to