Lee Kuan Yew’s view on Malaysia – Sin Chew Daily

Published: 26 March 2015 7:47 AM

Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew, who had spent a lifetime being the architect of Singapore's prosperity, has died.


In addition to building and fostering Singapore, Lee was also very much concerned about Malaysia and had always advocated a Malaysian Malaysia concept.


In his book “One Man's View of the World”, he wrote that people of his generation have always believed that Singapore and Malaya should exist as one, adding that the British separated us after the war and made us colonies, but we fought to merge.


Singapore and Malaya finally merged in 1963, but racial disputes continued, even resulted in clashes. It forced Lee to declare in tears the withdrawal of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia on August 9, 1965.


Lee regretted the painful history. He said that if Tunku Abdul Rahman was firm enough to soothe the radicals, build a multi-racial Malaysia, and let the Chinese and Indians share power in the police, army and administrative agencies, Malaysia will be more prosperous and fair than it is today.


"Much of what has been achieved in Singapore could have been replicated throughout Malaysia. Both countries would have been better off," he added.


However, there is no "if" in history and everything is now unalterable fact. Lee had played an important role and should bear a certain degree of historical responsibility in the withdrawal of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia. History will have a fair judgement on this point.


As a leader closely related to Malaysia, Lee had always observed the development of Malaysia even after the withdrawal of Singapore. In his book, he commented on Malaysia:


- The population structure of Malaysia makes it more difficult to shake Malay supremacy. Many Chinese and Indians choose to leave Malaysia and emigrate to other countries.


- Race-based policies is putting Malaysia 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.


- Eventually, the Chinese and Indians will exert little influence at the polling booths. When that day comes, with no votes to bargain with, the Chinese and Indians cannot hope to bring about a fair and equal society for themselves.


In the eyes of Lee, the "1Malaysia" slogan had not lived up to the excitement it created. He opined that Malaysians' hope that Barisan Nasional’s 1Malaysia concept can usher in a new era for race relations may be unrealistic, but those counting on the opposition to do the same are not very much less so, as the chance of the opposition coming to power in the near future is a very long shot.


Even if it comes to power, it will be almost impossible for the opposition to abolish Malay supremacy.


Describing it as "an opportunistic ad-hoc group", Lee criticised Pakatan Rakyat (PR) for not holding together by even a vaguely coherent set of ideas but by a common desire to unseat the government.


He said that as long as PR does not actually occupy Putrajaya and does not have to implement multiracial policies, some semblance of unity can be maintained within the pact.


"When it comes to the crunch, however, PR will not be able to do away with Malay supremacy. The moment the bluff is called and it is handed full power to push ahead, it will either be torn apart from within or be paralysed by indecision.


"If it attempts to move in any meaningful way, PAS, a Malay-Muslim party that will hold if not a majority of seats within the coalition, then at least a significant enough share to give it veto power, would block action in an instant.


"In doing so, PAS would be responding to the same electoral pressures that Umno faces from the Malay ground,” Lee said.


He said that he regarded Malays as the camp that will always control majority of the Parliament and no matter which political party replaces Umno, and becomes the main party representing Malay interests, its style will not be far from Umno's.


Many people might not agree with Lee's comments but his observation was indeed unique, particularly his comments on PAS, which was very sharp and worthy of vigilance! – Mysinchew.com, March 26, 2015.


* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.