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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

The Singapore senior minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, must count his four-day unofficial visit to Malaysia, his first in more than ten years, with mixed feelings. The last time he wanted to come, as a farewell tour to his 31 years as prime minister, he could not: he could come, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta told him, as guest of the deputy prime minister. He decided not to. He came this time to ensure the Prime Minister would not flinch from staying in office, to provide the non-Malay backbone to see him through in this confrontation with his former deputy prime minister. His public statements about bilateral ties and good intentions is a Singapore wish list than practical realities. The two countries, despite the warmth, are as far apart as ever.

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 He remains out of date with developments in Malaysia.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 own making.

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.

M.G.G. Pillai

Berikut adalah sedutan artikel dari BBC

Subject: BBC: Dr Mahathir's 'unmitigated disaster'

Dr Mahathir's 'unmitigated disaster'
Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK

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 arrest.

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 topple him.