Tuesday, October 03, 2006

HARRY LEE says Sorry; NO Intention to MEDDLE, Influence MALAYSIAN Politics or INCITE FEELINGS; REGARDLESS, PEOPLE Have Own JUDGEMENT-TRUE POSITION

See Below for an (Oct 04 06)

UPDATE: Annex listing attached to Harry Lee’s Reply

Harry Lee jumped the gun and authorized the Singapore High Commission to release the letter to the public once a copy has been sent to Prime Minister Abdullah. As a matter of fact Channel Asia has the story out on Oct 2nd 22:04pm beating Bernama’s account (more details) released at 23:52pm. At 17:43, Bernama reports only that the letter has been forwarded to PM (see bottom).

People regardless whether as Malaysians or Singaporeans should be more level headed; these marginalization “beliefs” on either side generate the appropriate emotions but we should let them flow through. Emotions like energy flows, feel them and then they disappear. When you try to hold them back they build up and when you get angry if there is further incitement, people might protest and get violent. . Others might say sorry is short of an apology and make further demands and this can result in further conflicts as we see in this world today.

It is somewhat fashionable to place feelings above conscious thoughts, the idea being that emotions are more basic and natural than conscious reasoning is.
The two actually go together but your conscious thinking largely determines your emotions, and not the other way around.
The point is that we are here in existence to experience. No right or wrong. No good or bad. No evil. We are here to watch our beliefs—regardless of what they are—spin out into reality. Why deny your emotional experience even though they may be negative?

= = = = = == =

HARRY LEE speaking at the forum

Lee Kuan Yew Says Sorry To Prime Minister; October 02, 2006 23:52 PM
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 (Bernama) -- Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, in a letter of response to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi over his recent claims about the systematic marginalisation of the Chinese community in Malaysia, said he was sorry that what he said had caused a great deal of discomfort to the prime minister.

He said after a decade of troubled relations with Abdullah's predecessor (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) it was the last thing he wanted.

"I am sorry that what I said has caused you a great deal of discomfort. After a decade of troubled relations with your predeccor, it is the last thing I wanted," he said in a letter dated Sept 29 forwarded to Abdullah's office in Putrajaya by Singapore High Commissioner T. Jasudasen Monday.
The copy of the three-page letter was faxed to Bernama by the
Singapore High Commission here Monday night.

Abdullah had written to Lee on Sept 25 seeking clarification over the latter's controversial remarks that the attitude of Malaysia and Indonesia towards the republic was shaped by the way they treated their Chinese communities.
Lee thanked Abdullah for the letter and said he made the remarks in a free-flowing dialogue session with former
US Secretary of Treasury Larry Summers before many foreign delegates attending the IMF/WB meeting.

He also included in the letter the transcript of the relevant passage as reported by Reuters.

"Let me sum it up nicely, why you must have a government in Singapore which is really firm, stout-hearted, subtle and resolute. My neighbours both have problems with their Chinese.

"They are successful, they are hard working and therefore, they are systematically marginalized, even in education. There are quotas to prevent you.

"So, you've got to make money to go abroad or go to one of the private universities which are being set up. And they want Singapore, to put it simply, to be like their Chinese, compliant.

"So every time, we say `No' to some scheme to knock down the Causeway and build a bridge, he says, `Oh you're not cooperative, you're only thinking of yourself'. For no rhyme or reason, we knock down a causeway, nearly 100 years old, which served us well. He wants to build a bridge because it looks pretty and he says ships will sail and his containers can move from the East Coast to the West Coast via this.
"But we say no... So, we said, "All right, if you give us commensurate benefits, we'll agree". But you need a government who'll be able to, not only have the gumption, but the skill to say `No' in a very quiet, polite way that doesn't provoke them into doing something silly," Lee said.

He said that on the bridge and the half bridge to remove the Causeway, Abdullah made the position of the Malaysian government clear that Malaysia respected legally binding agreements and acted in accordance with international law.

"This made unnecessary a reference to ITLOS and the International Court of Justice that would otherwise have been unavoidable. This respect for the law is the basis for sound long-term relations between us," he said.

Lee said he was explaining to a liberal audience of westerners who wanted to see a stronger opposition in Singapore why the republic needed a strong majority government, not a weak coalition that would hamper it in defending its national interests.

"Singapore needs a strong government to maintain good relations with Indonesia and Malaysia and to interact with Indonesian and Malaysian politicians who consider Singapore to be Chinese and expect Singapore to be 'sensitive' and comply with their requests," he said.

Lee, 83, told a forum on good governance in Singapore on Sept 15 that "My neighbours both have problems with their Chinese. They are successful, they're hardworking and therefore they are systematically marginalised, even in education.

"And they want Singapore, to put it simply, to be like their Chinese -- compliant."

The remark drew protests in Malaysia and Indonesia. The foreign ministries of both countries had also summoned the Singapore envoys to explain Lee's remarks.

The Senior Minister said on numerous occasions Umno leaders including Dr Mahathir and many others had publicly warned Malaysian Malays that if they ever lost power, they risked the same fate as Malays in Singapore, whom they alleged were marginalised and discriminated against.

He added that from time to time when Malaysian politicians attacked Singapore fiercely over some bilateral issue, some of them told the republic's politicians privately to just accept that as a part of Malaysian politics and not to react to those attacks.

"Singapore understands the reality of Malaysian politics. We have never protested at these attacks on our multi-racial system or our policies, except to clarify our own position when necessary.
"But we have to explain to our people the root cause of these difficulties in our bilateral relations. Otherwise Singaporeans will believe that their own government is doing wrong either to our own people or to
Malaysia.

"As for the international audience, with so many foreign embassy staff and foreign correspondents reporting on Singapore and Malaysia, plus tens of thousands of expatriate businessmen working in our two countries, these people will come to their own judgement of the true position regardless of what I say," he added.

Lee said he had not said anything more than what he had said many times before and in fact he had said less than what he had written in his memoirs published in 1998.

He said he had no intention to meddle in Malaysia and indeed he did not have the power to influence Malaysia's politics or to incite the feelings of the Chinese in Malaysia.

He said since Abdullah took over as the prime minister in November 2003, relations between both countries had much improved for which he believed both Singaporeans and Malaysians appreciated.

In his PS (post-script), Lee said the fact that Abdullah had written to him had been well publicised and he had been asked about his reply, he had to release his letter to the media after the prime minister received it.

= = = = =



MM Lee says sorry that recent comments caused discomfort to PM Abdullah

By Farah Abdul Rahim, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 02 October 2006 2204 hrs

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew says he is sorry that his recent comments about Chinese Malaysians had caused Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi a great deal of discomfort.

Mr Lee had said during an international forum in Singapore more than two weeks ago that ethnic Chinese minorities in Malaysia and Indonesia are being marginalised.

In his letter to Mr Abdullah, Mr Lee said he had no intention to meddle in Malaysian politics.

Nor does he have the power to influence Malaysia's politics or to incite the feelings of Chinese in the country.

The remarks about Malaysia's ethnic Chinese minority were made at what Mr Lee called a 'free flowing dialogue session' with former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

Setting the context, Mr Lee explained he was speaking to a liberal audience of Westerners who wanted to see a stronger opposition in Singapore.

He reiterated that Singapore needs a strong government to maintain good relations with neighbours Indonesia and Malaysia and to interact with their politicians who consider Singapore to be 'Chinese'.

Mr Lee said he did not say anything more than what he had said many times before, and added he said less than what he had written in his 1998 memoirs.

Mr Lee said UMNO leaders, including former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed and others, had on numerous occasions, publicly warned Malaysian Malays that if they ever lose power, they risk the same fate as Malays in Singapore, whom they allege are marginalised and discriminated against.

Mr Lee cited examples of such comments in the letter's annex, quoting Dr Mahathir and other leaders in media reports over the years about the "marginalisation" of Singapore Malays.

The Minister Mentor reiterated that Singapore understands the reality of Malaysian politics.

Singapore has never protested at such attacks on Singapore's multi-racial system or policies but merely clarified Singapore's position and explained to Singaporeans the root cause of such difficulties in bilateral relations.

Also in his letter, the Minister Mentor said relations between the 2 countries have improved since Mr Abdullah took the helm in November 2003 and that both Singaporeans and Malaysians appreciate this.

Mr Lee concluded that the last thing he wanted to do, after a decade of troubled relations with the former Prime Minister, was to cause Mr Abdullah a great deal of discomfort. -

= = = = = = =


Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said: "It is up to the prime minister to take whatever step he feels appropriate,"

Kuan Yew's Letter Forwarded To PM's Office ; October 02, 2006 17:43 PM

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 2 (Bernama) -- Wisma Putra has forwarded the letter by Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew over his recent claims about the systematic marginalisation of Chinese in Malaysia to the office of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the missive was sent to Abdullah's office as soon as it was handed over to Wisma Putra by
Singapore High Commissioner T. Jasudasen, Monday.

Abdullah had written to Lee seeking clarification over the latter's controversial remarks that the attitude of
Malaysia and Indonesia towards the republic was shaped by the way they treated their Chinese communities.

Syed Hamid said he did not read Lee's letter but added that it was in response to matters raised by Abdullah following Lee's remarks.

"It is up to the prime minister to take whatever step he feels appropriate," he said when contacted by Bernama.

Syed Hamid expressed the hope that the episode would not affect ties between the two neighbouring countries.

"We have our disagreements, there are certain things that we are not happy about. The prime minister chose to write and they had taken the position to reply. It's good.

"We hope this (matter) won't jeopardise our bilateral relations," he said.

He further said it was likely that
Singapore would make the letter public following its delivery to Abdullah.

Lee, 83, told a forum on good governance in
Singapore on Sept 15 that "my neighbours both have problems with their Chinese. They are successful, they're hardworking and therefore they are systematically marginalised, even in education. "And they want Singapore, to put it simply, to be like their Chinese -- compliant."

The remarks drew protests in
Malaysia and Indonesia. The foreign ministries of both countries had also summoned the Singapore envoys to explain Lee's remarks.

= = = = =

= = = = =

and here is ANWAR IBRAHIMS’s comments

Lee Kuan Yew Has Primitive Thinking, Says Anwar Ibrahim ; October 02, 2006 14:38 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 (Bernama) -- Parti Keadilan Nasional (Keadilan) considers former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew as someone still trapped in primitive thinking when he alleged the Chinese in Malaysia and Indonesia were marginalised.

Party adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said such an allegation clearly reflected the Minister Mentor as a racist, to an extent he had intervened in the affairs of the Chinese in other countries, while the Singapore Malays were being neglected.

"What is more regrettable is the insensitivity of Lee Kuan Yew towards the plight of other races, be they Bumiputeras or Indians," he said in a statement issued here Monday.

Anwar said Lee should be fair to ensure justice for all races where they be safeguarded, no corrupt practices and for all be given equal opportunities in development.

The allegation by Lee, made during a speech at an international forum in Singapore on Sept 15, drew criticisms from various quarters in Malaysia and Indonesia.

= = = == and from S’pore ST

Msian PM's decision to reveal Lee Kuan Yew's letter

By Carolyn Hong The Straits Times ;Publication Date: 02-10-2006

It is up to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi to decide whether to reveal the contents of the letter sent by Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, said Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar.The letter is private correspondence between the two men, he was quoted as saying by Berita Minggu yesterday (Oct 1).

Datuk Seri Syed Hamid was referring to the letter sent by Lee on Friday (Sept 29), in response to a letter from the Malaysian Premier. He also noted that Datuk Seri Abdullah's letter had not been made public.

The latter wrote to MM Lee last week following an outcry over his comments about the Chinese minorities in Indonesia and Malaysia. Lee made the comments at a dialogue on good governance in Singapore on Sept 15. He said the attitude of Indonesia and Malaysia, which "systematically marginalised" their ethnic Chinese minorities, shaped the way they treated ties with the Republic. He added that the two countries "want Singapore, to put it simply, to be like their Chinese -- compliant".

Lee's letter is with the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, and is expected to be delivered to the Malaysian Foreign Ministry today (Oct 2). Following normal diplomatic procedures, it will be forwarded to the Prime Minister through the ministry.

Over the past week, leaders in Malaysia have spoken out against the comments.

Meanwhile, the Barisan Nasional Youth wing is considering whether to meet its PAP counterpart to discuss the issue. The wing's deputy chairman Liow Tiong Lai, who is also head of the Malaysian Chinese Association Youth movement, said this would be discussed at its next meeting. No date has been set.

The media debate, which has raged on for days, continued yesterday with several commentaries in the English and Malay press. In the New Sunday Times, Datuk Kalimullah Hassan, a confidant of the Prime Minister, suggested that Lee's comments could be aimed at diverting the attention of Singaporeans from domestic issues.

Datuk Kalimullah, who is also editorial adviser to the NST, said this could be because Temasek Holdings is currently under scrutiny for the controversial purchase of the telecommunications company belonging to Thailand's ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

He also said that Lee was still towing the emotional baggage that leaders of
both countries have tried to leave behind
. In the same newspaper, political analyst Paddy Bowie wrote that the Chinese were far from compliant or marginalised, and cited their economic achievements and vocal participation in politics.

In The Sunday Star, its top editor Wong Chun Wai wrote that economic challenges were now from outside the country and not among the different races.

"It is no longer about which race should get what slice of the pie but making
sure that Malaysians would still get the pie
," he said.

= = = = = = = =

Oct 04 06, UPDATE: Annex listing attached to Harry Lee’s Reply

The annex lists several instances where Malaysian leaders made "marginalised Malays in S'pore" remarks and the S'porean government kept quiet.:

No: 1. ; Date: 3 Sep 06

Who: Umno Youth Deputy Chief Khairy Jamaluddin

Where: China Press

What: Khairy was reported to have said that the Malays in Penang faced the same fate of being marginalised as those in Singapore and that many of them were forced to move elsewhere.

No: 2. Date: 28 Aug 06

Who: Deputy Health Minister Abdul Latiff Ahmad

Where: The Star

What: This article reported that at the Bukit Mertajam Umno delegates' conference, the Bukit Mertajam Umno division called on Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon to give up the Penang Water Supply Corporation Sdn Bhd Chairman's post to Umno. The division chief alleged that Dr Koh had 'snatched' the chairman's post away from Umno.

Deputy Health Minister Abdul Latiff, who opened the conference, said that he sympathised with Penang Malays because 'I understand they do not want to end up becoming like the Malays in Singapore'.

No: 3. Date: 29 May 05

Who: Former PM Mahathir Mohd

Where: Mingguan Malaysia

What: After a visit to Palestine, Mahathir was asked what advice he had for the younger generation so that they would understand the Palestinian crisis.

Mahathir replied that when he was Education Minister, a Palestinian professor had told him that Malaysians should be grateful for their good fortune. Mahathir added: 'Let us not go far. Look at Singapore. Do we want to be like Muslim Malays in Singapore? Yet we are not grateful and have not taken steps to ensure that our country will not suffer the same plight'.

No: 4.; Date: 3 Oct 02

Who: Then PM Mahathir Mohd

Where: Bernama

What: At a dialogue held in conjunction with the third 'Malay and Islamic World Convention' in Malacca, Mahathir said that Malaysia's Malays might become a minority group like the Malays in Singapore if they continue to quarrel among themselves and do not work hard.

On 3 Oct 02 in Bernama, he was quoted as saying that there were groups that claimed that the Singapore Malays were better off than Malaysian Malays, 'but the fact as can be seen now is that Singapore Malays are not given the opportunity to hold high posts in various fields such as the military.'

He said that Malays in Malaysia were at one time nearly reduced to the same fate as Singapore Malays, a minority race, but that they were saved by the economic depression in 1930, when many Chinese and Indians returned to their home countries.

No: 5.;Date: 26 Aug 02

Who: Then PM Mahathir Mohd

Where: Bernama

What: At a Puteri UMNO information session, Mahathir warned that if the Malays continued to be disunited and questioned every move the government made, they would be marginalised, not just in Penang but all over the country. He said a worse fate would befall them if they were also lazy to improve their standard of living.

He said: 'This will lead to the degradation of their race, not just in Penang but all over the country.' He added that 'The Malays in this country must not forget. At one time we were almost like Singapore and we must remember that in the 30s the migrants formed the majority of the population.'

However, Mahathir denied the claim that few economic opportunities had been given to Malays. He said that 'we have given them substantial economic opportunities...but sometimes what we gave them, they gave to other people instead.'

No: 6.Date: 11 Dec 00

Who: Then PM Mahathir Mohd

Where: Bernama

What: In response to Suqiu (Malaysian Chinese Organisation's Election Appeals Committee) call for equal rights and meritocracy, Mahathir said that meritocracy was used as an excuse for blocking and oppressing native people of their rights by immigrant communities as seen in what he described as an 'immediate neighbouring country and other nations'. He added that '...we've seen how natives of the land become marginalised, impoverished and have no role in the government in the name of so-called equal rights ad meritocracy.'

Following Mahathir's remarks, Utusan Malaysia (UM) carried a front-page article entitled 'Singapore Deliberately Weakens The Malays' based on Lily Zubaidah Rahim's 'The Singapore Dilemma: The Political Educational Marginality of the Malay Community', which claimed that the Singapore Government had over the years actively marginalised the Malays in Singapore. This was followed by a spate of comments by Malaysian politicians on the issue, for example:

12 Dec 00: Mohd Ruzi Jamil (President of the Kedah Federation of Peninsular Malay Students) said that Singapore Malays' weakness in education and the economy was caused by political pressure imposed by the Republic's leaders. He stressed that many of the Malay rights have been withdrawn and they are not given equal opportunities to compete with other races in the country.

14 Dec 00: BN Senator Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman said in Parliament that 'by keeping quiet, PAS wants the Malay community in the country to face the same fate as the Malays in Singapore who have been neglected by the republic's government although the Singapore Constitution demands that the rights of the Malays in that country be protected'.

21 Dec 00: Tan Sri Aziz Tapa (UMNO Veteran and former Malacca State Assembly Speaker) said that 'I think that there is no need for a dialogue because we know the motives of Suqiu are the same as DAP: to turn Malaysia into something like Singapore.'

No: 6a.Date: Dec 00 to Jan 01

Who: Various

Where: Various

What: During the Suqiu controversy, following Mahathir's comments as listed immediately above, there was also a media campaign in the Malaysian papers attacking Singapore for marginalising the Malays. Reports that were published included those listed below:

* 13 Dec 00 - UM - 'Singapore Marginalises the Malay Community'

* 13 Dec 00 - UM - 'Singapore Malays' Weakness is due to Political Pressure'

* 16 Dec 00 - UM - 'Suqiu making Malays Here Have the Same Plight as Malays in Singapore'

* 19 Dec 00 - New Straits Times - 'Meritocracy comes under Attack'

* 21 Dec 00 - UM - 'Living in Isolation in own Country'

* 26 Dec 00 - UM - 'Penang Malays follow Singapore's footsteps'

* 5 Jan 01 - UM - 'Suqiu: Learn form [sic] Singapore's Problem'

No: 7.Date: 23 Aug 98

Who: Then Special Advisor to UMNO Jelebu Division

(Note: He is now Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage)

Where: UM

What: He accused Singapore of 'denying the right of Malays to hold senior positions in the SAF.'

He also said that 'the issue of Malays being neglected in such a way actually is not a diplomatic issue but is an ethnic issue which insults everyone who calls themselves a Malay. Now we can ask, what has become of the meritocracy policy which is shouted by Singapore all this while?'

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1 Comments:

Blogger Billy said...

"Mr Lee said UMNO leaders, including former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed and others, had on numerous occasions, publicly warned Malaysian Malays that if they ever lose power, they risk the same fate as Malays in Singapore, whom they allege are marginalised and discriminated against."

A few years ago, Harry Lee warned Singaporeans that if they don't buckle up to work harder, he may be forced to seek a re-merger with Malaysia. Instantly, there were demonstrations in frong of the Singapore High Commission and protest letter were handed by (I believe it was UMNO Youth). The reason, Singapore should stop using Malaysia as a bogeyman. Now isn't it the same as the text quoted in the first para? So why should UMNO feel so uptight. All this while, the Chinese in Malaysia have been made the bogeyman for one reason or another. We ignore the remarks and simply move with our daily lives.

6:17 PM  

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