Singapore Media Watch

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Mind your own business, Gerakan tells Kuan Yew - From Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini
Mind your own business, Gerakan tells Kuan Yew
Alwin Yap
Sep 22, 06 6:23pm


Gerakan today ticked off Singapore’s Mentor Minister Lee Kuan Yew over his remarks that Chinese Malaysians had been “systematically marginalised” because they were successful and hardworking.

Party president Lim Keng Yaik and his deputy, Koh Tsu Koon, both lambasted Lee for making comments without having the full facts and accused him of causing racial tensions here.

Lim, who is also the minister of energy, water and telecommunications, said the former Singapore premier had a habit of making statements which infuriate Malaysians over the last 40 years.

When asked to speculate as to Lee’s reason for the latest remark, a visibly upset Lim said: “You go ask him-lah!”.

He said Lee was wrong in making such statements, and he urged reporters to report that Lee “was wrong, wrong.”

His heir apparent, Koh, who sitting next to him at today’s press conference, added that Lee should understand the challenges Malaysian leaders had in governing a much larger country which, unlike Singapore, has far-flung states such as Sabah and Sarawak.

The Chinese-majority Gerakan is a senior partner in the Barisan Nasional coalition and is the ruling party in Penang.
Koh, the Penang chief minister, also said the Malaysian government - at both federal and state level - was committed to bring economic development to all races.

“However, it’s not uncommon, even in developed countries, to have pockets of places like rural areas that are not yet developed,” he said.

He said the government had focused on bringing development to these areas so that ‘no ethnicity’ would feel they were sidelined.

Koh added that Chinese Malaysians, like their other fellow citizens, also have more freedom than those in Singapore in expressing their views to the mass media.

According to Koh, the non-Malay component political parties within the BN coalition often spoke out in the cabinet or Parliament on issues involving Chinese and Indians communities.
Koh has recently came under severe attack from his Umno colleagues for marginalising Penang Malays in his state.

Being naughty

At the press conference, both Lim and Koh echoed views expressed by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday that Lee was being “naughty” in making statements that were inaccurate and have serious political implications.

“I do not know the reason he made such a statement but it should not have been made at all. It’s a comment that we can do without, and it is not appreciated at all,” said Najib.

“We do not sideline the non-bumiputera in this country. What are in place are efforts to create a balance between the bumiputera and the non-bumiputera,” added the deputy prime minister.

Last Friday, Lee was quoted in the media as saying that it was vital for the predominantly ethnic Chinese Singapore to stand up to its bigger, majority Muslim neighbours, Indonesia and Malaysia.

He added that the attitude of neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia towards Singapore was shaped by the way they treated their own ethnic Chinese minorities.

Lee had said that these two nations had problems with their Chinese communities because they were successful and hardworking and “therefore, they are systematically marginalised.”
Indonesia and Malaysia “want Singapore, to put it simply, to be like their Chinese - compliant”, added Lee.



Comments:

From Juzlonely:

Of course, Malaysia does marginalise the Chinese ethics. After all, she declares herself as a Malay country. She does have a duty to protect her people. Imagine, Australia populated with Chinese and Indians, wouldn't the Ozzies felt the same?

Another thing, in Singapore, we're told to stay away from racial issues since it is a sensative things. Why does LKY has his freedom to do so at his own will? In international law, as Mahathir pointed out, he should mind his own business.

Interestingly, not sure if I can find the remarks made by LKY in ST. I don't think anyone will write or an article to appear in ST rebutting LKY and I don't think the Perm Sec will reply as well. It does pointed out that race is a sensative issue in Singapore but only one person can say it and gets away with it i.e. LKY.


From Winnipegjets:

Singapore demands that the West not imposed its standards on it. Yet now the tiny dot imposes its standard on the neighbouring countries. Hypocriscy, isn't it?
Despite the so-called 'marginalization', the Chinese majority in Malaysia are wealthier - that's why many of their children can go overseas for university - and live a higher standard of living than the majority of Chinese in red dot.


From Mihailov1975:

As a senior leader of Singapore, MM Lee's comments may be misconstrued by our neighbors as a sentiment shared by the government though he made it in his personal capacity. This does not help in improving relationship between both countries in either way. MM Lee should reveal facts and figures to prove his point that Malaysian Chinese are indeed marginalized. Even if it is so, it has little relevance to Singapore. We should first take a look at how we treat our own citizens first.

Is this a clever ploy to divert Singaporeans from real issues such as the recent PR fallout from the mishandling of the IMF-WB meetings and the ouster of Thaksin which leaves the Temasek-Shin Corp deal in jeopardy by targeting Malaysia as the bogyman again? While we do not like other countries to interfere in our affairs, we should also be more sensitive to the feelings of our neighbors. Such jibes and taunts are certainly unwelcome and unnecessary at a time when bilateral relations are picking up.

On hindsight, during my frequent visits to Johor, I noticed many Malaysian Chinese are able to buy private properties. A plumber I know works only part-time and is able to afford a car and a semi-detached house. Even in their "marginalized" state, Malaysian Chinese seems to fare better compared to their Singaporean counterparts. What does that say about our own government?

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