Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Malaysia intends no harm to Singapore: Dr M

and.. this will never end.. ooohh boy..

Malaysia has never harboured intentions of attacking or harming Singapore, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in his blog last Thursday.

But the outspoken former leader warned that the Republic’s constant drumbeat about unfriendly neighbours will give rise to tensions and spark an arms race.

His comments — picked up by the media — were made in a lengthy and sometimes acerbic post on his popular blog, Che Det. He was responding to assertions by Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in the book Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going, which was published last month.

In the post, attacking what he viewed as the central premise of the book, the 85-year-old said, “Without saying so in so many words, Lee Kuan Yew believes that the island’s neighbours would war against it if it has no military capacity to defend itself.”

But he added, “Even in my time, there was no such intention… I don’t think my successors harbour any intention to do harm to Singapore. These are the hard truths. Competition in trade and shipping does not mean war, or a threat of war.

“But one thing is certain: If Singapore treats Malaysia and Indonesia as its enemies, then you must expect them to prepare for their defence,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said that even if it may not lead to war, there will be tension and the possibility of an arms race. This he said will eventually lead to much money being wasted.

“It would be far better if Mr Lee stops thinking about being vulnerable and that its neighbours harbour the intention to invade it.’

In substantiating his claims of the country’s peaceful intentions, Dr Mahathir also said it was Malaysia which suggested that competing claims over Pedra Branca be submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“Malaysia’s willingness to go to the international court is hardly in keeping with a country which harbours the intention to invade Singapore,” he said.

“As with Pulau Batu Puteh, Sipadan and Ligitan, our preference is for negotiation, arbitration or an international court’s decision.”

Pulau Batu Puteh is the Malay name for Pedra Branca. Sipadan and Ligitan are the two islands off Sabah that Malaysia won after its dispute with Indonesia went to the ICJ.

On the issue of sand, Dr Mahathir noted that in the book, Mr Lee had quoted him as saying, “Even at their (Singapore’s) present size, they are trouble, you let them grow some more, they will be more trouble”.

“I may have said that, I cannot remember. But is that an indication that we intend to invade Singapore?” he asked.

He explained that the supply of sand to the Republic was stopped because it was causing erosion along parts of the Malaysian coast. Allowing the supply to continue, he argued, would cause the erosion to worsen as well as destroy fish-breeding grounds, thus affecting the livelihoods of Malaysian fishermen.

Portraying Singapore as a troublemaker, Dr Mahathir said he tried to solve several problems between the two countries while he was prime minister, such as the railway land issue and the price of water, but they came to nought.

Turning to other statements made by Mr Lee in the book, he took a swipe at politics in Singapore by charting the contrasting fortunes of two political parties since the Republic’s separation from Malaysia.

He said when both sides separated in 1965, supporters of the People’s Action Party (PAP) formed the Malaysian opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), “which is alive and well today in Malaysia”.

“But the rump Umno left in Singapore could not survive in the hostile atmosphere. For that matter, no other political party has been allowed to function properly in Singapore,” he added.

“Kuan Yew claims all these opposition people are duds and must not be allowed to rule Singapore or even to be in the opposition,” he said.

This “frank admission that he determines who should represent the people of Singapore”, Dr Mahathir said, is incontrovertible proof that Singapore is a totalitarian state.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Dr Mahathir: Lee Kuan Yew is just a ‘mayor’

Tak abis2 cerita pasal dua mantan Perdana Menteri nie.. well.. i loikee.. hehehehe.. Good to see both old men digging dirt out and throwing at each other. Let the truth be told… hehehehe..

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dismissed in a recent book Lee Kuan Yew’s achievements as the founding father of Singapore, and accused the island republic’s minister mentor of once wanting to be prime minister of Malaysia.

“The fact remains that he is the mayor of Singapore,” the former Malaysian prime minister was quoted as saying in “Doctor M: Operation Malaysia — Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad”, written by US journalist Tom Plate based on interviews with Dr Mahathir over the last two years.

“This is something he doesn’t like. He wants to be big, you see and he feels that we took away his opportunity to lead a real country.”

Dr Mahathir also described Lee as “a big frog in a small pond” whose ambitions of being prime minister of Malaysia resulted in Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first prime minister, “realising he had to move Kuan Yew out.”

Singapore had joined Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form the Federation of Malaysia in 1963 when Tunku was still prime minister.

Parliament voted to expel Singapore in 1965 following conflict over pro-Bumiputera policies favoured by Umno but rejected by Lee’s People’s Action Party (PAP).

Although their terms as prime minister only overlapped for nine years, Dr Mahathir and Lee have been at loggerheads for as long as Malaysia and Singapore have existed.

“People look at him as an intellectual, as something more than just an ordinary politician, so he is always invited to give his views on things, and to that extent he is something bigger than Singapore,” Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister from 1981 to 2003, added in the latest book.

In the book, he also recounted an event that sealed poor relations between the two, stating that he was annoyed that he “was not treated as the leader of a country” when he visited Singapore as prime minister.

“Normally when somebody, a prime minister, visits another prime minister, you go down and receive him… they sent me a protocol officer, and then I was put in a room, a holding room waiting for the big man,” he said.

Dr Mahathir then did the same to Lee, who stepped down as PM in 1990, and other Singaporean leaders when they visited Malaysia.

“I call this the Singapore protocol,” he said.

In the book, Dr Mahathir said Lee was “not democratic at all” as opposition MPs in Singapore were “incapacitated, either by suing them… or the opposition will come in and be very quiet.”

He contrasted this to Malaysia where the opposition is “very vocal” and had at one time ruled five of the 13 states.

Lee, in a recent biography called “Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going”, had said that after resigning as prime minister, his intention was to make sure the new PM succeeded, comparing himself favourably to Dr Mahathir.

“If the new PM fails, I have failed. Mahathir never thought that way. He undermined his successors,” he said, referring to the pressure applied by Dr Mahathir on Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who eventually stepped down in 2009, and attempts to influence the current administration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Dr Mahathir also claimed that when Lee was a Malaysian MP, he tended “to lecture people. The people in Parliament dislike that. So, I made it uncomfortable for him, so he didn’t like me.”

However, Lee also stated his own version of events in “Hard Truths” where he said Dr Mahathir “knew he couldn’t put me down because we had clashed before in the Malaysian Parliament where I was not intimidated.”

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Feedback from MM Lee's comments

I'm proud to see a young Singaporean Malay speak up and give feedback on what MM Lee's commented on the Muslim. He's a Fit To Post (FTP) yahoo writer and used his colum for the feedback. Bravo bro..


By Faris Mokhtar

Uncalled for, unfair and out of touch.

That’s how I would describe Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s controversial comments on the racial integration of the Malay-Muslim community in Singapore.

The 87-year-old founding father of modern Singapore had written in his latest book, Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going, “I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam. I think the Muslims socially do not cause any trouble, but they are distinct and separate.”

He added, “Now, you go to schools with Malay and Chinese, there’s a halal and non-halal segment and so, too, the universities. And they tend to sit separately so as not to be contaminated. All that becomes a social divide.”

When asked what Muslims could do to integrate, he said, “Be less strict on Islamic observances and say, ‘Okay, I’ll eat with you’.”

What followed, understandably so was outrage among Malay-Muslim organisations such as PERDAUS and Jamiyah. Soon after, the government was in frantic “damage control” mode.

First, Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim and then, Prime Minister Lee were quick to distance themselves, and the government, from MM Lee’s frank “hard truth”.

Well I, for one, respectfully beg to differ from MM Lee. As a young Malay-Muslim born in the late 80s, I think his points are inaccurate and out of touch.

Public or government schools have and will continue to have halal and non-halal stalls. This is to ensure that the food meet the religious dietary requirements of Muslims students such as how vegetarian stalls mainly cater to students who are practicing Buddhists or Hindus.

But there is no such thing as segregated seating areas for both Muslim and non-Muslim students. Students buy their own food and sit wherever they choose.

Even in army camps, where the cookhouse is still separated into the “halal” and “non-halal” sections, nowhere is it said that Muslims are not able to have meals with the Chinese, or vice versa.

There is nothing in the Koran that forbids Muslims from sharing spaces with non-Muslims. In fact, they are encouraged to integrate with the society and such actions do not make one “unMuslim-like” in nature.

And it goes beyond just food. We, the young, are simply different in our ways and thinking.

I still enjoy the company of my friends — Chinese, Indian, Eurasians and Malays — in secondary schools and college. We still catch up regularly for movies, shopping and visit each other houses for casual get-togethers and parties.

When it comes to food, I order my ”halal” food and sit down and have my meal with them side-by-side. If we attend birthdays or house parties organised by non-Malay friends, I and my fellow Muslims will opt for soft drinks while the rest chooses alcoholic beverages.

The point is that, we do socialise and go for gatherings – who says we can’t? And those of my generation agree with me.

“I think his views are myopic and do not paint an accurate picture,” said 22-year old Faizal Shaharuddin, an undergraduate from NUS.

“When we serve national service in the army, you can see that everyone integrate well together. We sit and eat meals together and take good care of one another, regardless of race and religion.”

In fact, even some of my Muslim friends are even dating girls from other races. For instance, a close friend who is studying to be a teacher in NTU-NIE, has been dating a girl of Chinese-Philippine heritage for over a year.

I recognise that MM Lee’s views, and those of his generation, are shaped by their struggle for independence in post-war Malaya and the bitter separation from Malaysia. After all, in those days, where survival was paramount, Singaporeans were segregated.

And before houses were upgraded to high-rise flats and before HDB imposed the Ethnic Integration Policy, one can’t deny that where Singaporeans lived was once segregated along racial lines.

But it is not who we young Muslims are now.

Muslim youths have been seen socialising with friends from other races without compromising their faith. (Reuters).
Will the threat of the 1964 race riots or of inter-racial tensions tearing the fabric of Singapore society ever go away? No, and it never will.

But yet, at the same time, I don’t think it is an imminent danger.

The one good thing that has emerged from the hullabaloo over MM Lee’s remarks is that, while controversial, they have stirred fierce debate and discussion, which builds upon the framework of our current understanding and inter-connectedness.

They have also served to dispel skewed mindsets and ageing perceptions.

Most importantly though, MM Lee’s comments have forced me to put up a mirror to myself and those of my — and my elders’ — generation and reminded us again of the need to engage in discourse among Malay Muslims and those from other races and religions.

*The writer has been volunteering at weekly Meet-the-People-Sessions in PAP Marine Parade Branch for the past two years. He also volunteers at the National Kidney Foundation, where he visits dialysis patients and delivers groceries to them.