Copyright Notice

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, at the address below.

Sakmongkol ak 47

Saturday 13 June 2009

Reading Lee Kuan Yew

I have written a number of articles regarding the thoughts of Lee Kuan Yew. My first article contained Mr Lee's views on ageing. I was willing to admit the real motive of Mr Lee's visit is purely fed by a need to revisit Malaysia. Perhaps for the last time. He is after all 86 years old this September.

I tried to be careful to distinguish between the Man and his ideas. I am more interested in the ideas of the man. I have accordingly outlined some of his more fundamental thinking on certain subjects. These included his ideas on leadership, succession, culture and the role of the civil service. I was hoping a discussion on these points would allow readers to already 'overtake' Mr Lee to arrive at their own reasonable interpretation of a future Malaysian history. In doing so, they would have beaten the Father of Modern Singapore in a mental game at which he is so famed.

Unfortunately to my mind, a sober analysis for the motives behind MM LKY's visit to Malaysia is clouded by our own damning subjective bias against the Man. Such a xenophobic attitude prevents us from looking into his ideas.

It should have been obvious by now, that Malaysia will eventually become an entity envisage-able not far from Mr Lee Kuan Yew's set ways of thinking. Mr Lee's visit could just turn out to be a personal and an empirical confirmation on his thoughts about what Malaysia will become.

What will Malaysia be in terms of politics, economics and a regional player? You see, Mr LKY thinks in terms of year spans- 10, 20 and 30 years. In 1962, he said Singapore would become an emerged nation. It has already done so. It became so as a result of the political leadership, economic system, administration and social discipline. Will Malaysia become the same? From a personal standpoint, I believe she will but not necessarily along the route taken by Singapore

Malaysian politics.

One of the classic LKYspeake- a highly analytical mind needs to only read the first few lines. You don't have to repeat over and over again to make such a person understand the full import of what you are trying to say. Hence LKY needs only to meet up with a representative cross section of Malaysian society. Alex Josey, the biographer of LKY writes these lines: upon first encounter, all are met on terms of equality. An exchange of few sentences however is sufficient for Lee's decision: either the person reacts intelligently or he does not, and this judgment will apply to prime minister and dock worker, don or road sweeper. LKY- The Crucial Years, by Alex Josey.

By doing so, he would be able to predict what Malaysia would become:-

The young were represented by KJ and Mukhriz. He asked about their strategies to reverse the damage done and whether the ruling coalition had the will to implement the changes required. Mukhriz is of course the sloganeer of dare to change. KJ is the owner of the slogan, solidarity or esprit de-corps. he wanted to find out the heartbeat of the young and urban voters. He would have sized up, whether these people are for real. He wants to know the expectations of younger Malays. Malays form the majority of the electorate. Our population is becoming younger and more urbanized. LKY wants to gauge the flow of ballots in future polls.

The key elements determining future Malaysian politics are:

  • Willingness and the political will to change according to changes in the base
  • The emerging trend of voting
  • The Malay predominance in politics
  • Young, urban and unconventional voters.

How intense is our political will to change? This question is most relevantly asked of UMNO, the bedrock of Malaysian politics. Have we seen any substantial changes in UMNO's style of politics? In the current cawangan meetings, we are asked for example of our views whether we want to scrap the quota system? Well, it should have been decided firmly that we do not want to retain the quota system. That has been one of the banes of UMNO. If we are dithering and foot dragging on this issue, that can only suggest our own reluctance to scrap the quota system. The quota system has allowed representatives of elite interests to retain continued power. That reluctance is also a damning indictment on our empty promises to change. We actually want to perpetuate our hold on the masses.

I hope when the UMNO meets as a General Assembly this September, they will have the will to implement direct election of our top leadership. The power to elect now rests with the perwakilan bahagian. That will make anyone fighting to get a berth as a delegate to the general assembly not important. Decision making now is decentralized.

As to making surgical changes, I am not sure. The recent jubilance and euphoria surrounding the victory of those in PAS who are viewed as sympathetic to UMNO's idea of unity government, suggests, that UMNO wants to take the easy way out. If these two leaders concerned can be persuaded to bring PAS into partnership with UMNO, that will provide the perfect excuse and justification, for UMNO not to undertake radical changes.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew would have concluded that UMNO doesn't want to change and therefore he wishes them luck.

Before we go on, let us tackle this claim that LKY's visit is an endorsement of Dato Najib's government. It is not. If that claim is accepted, then it would be logical and justifiably so, to accept, LKY's visit to Kelantan and meet with Khalid Ibrahim, as being also, endorsements for these people. Are we willing to concede that? No, I don't think so. The pubescent minded UMNO warlords will insist- it is an endorsement for PM Najib but only courtesy calls for others.

Anyone who has studied LKY closely would have found out his views on these. He will place Malaysia, based on his reading of the above vis-a vis Singapore. Will the new emerging Malaysia, given the impression he gets from looking at the above political elements, be able to get ahead of Singapore? We may remember, LKY's idea of progress is competition to get ahead of others. This idea was formed way back in 1962 and I doubt it has changed.


Donplaypuks® 13 June 2009 at 13:51  

I think LKY's main reason for coming here is to give subtle moral support to the Chinese.

He suspects the 'winds of change' are blowing over M'sian politics as seen by the 75% support from members for MCA to ditch BN and go its own way - if ever there was a more disastrous move by OTK's to conduct an opinion poll at his own website, I'll like to hear about it!!

BY extension, I think LKY is saying to MCA to stick to meritocracy, anti-corruption and performance. LKY also wants to guage first hand PAS's and UMNO's strengths, and if PAS will gain more ground.

Anonymous,  13 June 2009 at 15:10  

i am just beginning to wonder...whats the real significance of this LKY's visit?When Pak Lah became the PM..he went to S'pore for a bit of golf diplomacy but I didn't seem to remember him having long sit downs with LKY or having reciprocal visits to Malaysia.So,what does LKY symbolise;

1>>a great leader
2>>the beginnings of a new leadership style for Malaysia
3>>a reminder of what we could have been?
4>>a panacea for distressed souls?And that includes BN
5>>a taste of the main events to be unfolded?
6>>Just a reminiscing trip by an old man?

Puzzling?But I hope we take the best;and sculpture it to our own ideals befitting our strengths and weaknesses.
I love progress and opportunities but 3 days in S'pore is about the most I can take.

etheorist 13 June 2009 at 16:22  



I do hope that Malaysia will not become another Singapore - where the welfare of the local people is being traded off for strong GDP growth on which the franchise of a political party is justified.

The Malaysian concern for the local community is instinctive, but runs of risk of being abrogated by a political party of a single persuasion for its own interest.

The balancing act is accomplished by freedom of speech without animosity and a genuine wish to build a human society for ourselves and our children.

Pak Zawi 13 June 2009 at 17:32  

Dato' Sak,
Some years ago LKY said Malaysia was a nation of car jackers and muggers. How true he is of what Malaysia is today.

Unknown 13 June 2009 at 18:02  


Really the Crux of the Matter is mainly to see both sides in order to gauge possible outcomes...

It is obvious that Singapore is undertaking SCENARIO PLANNING in order to ready itself for possible changes that could take place in Malaysia in the near future...

LKY's visited Malaysia to collect the needed data and get them "from the horse's mouth".

The horses were all to keen to show him everything!!

Anonymous,  13 June 2009 at 20:54  

LKY remembers everything from the day he decided to be a politician and the day Singapore was pushed out of Malaysia. He did what he was supposed to do and achieved it within the time he had set.
Believe me, LKY has no regret. He understands history and he tends to write history and he has almost completed his mission.
LKY had made prediction on what will happen to UMNO and it is coming closer to his prediction and just waiting for the final countdown. At his age now, though he may not see his prediction comes through as yet but the visit this time can be his last "sightseeing" to wish Malaysia good luck.
Now I wonder who rule Malaysia!!!

Anonymous,  13 June 2009 at 22:42  

I believe our govt is way out of whack with the people..and have little understanding of the changing and matured mindsets of the people..
Its recession..lots of people worries about jobs/earnings just to survive;
Government solution
>>Going for higher value add..setting high level commitees..
>> announcing RM 15 b of contracts awarded or to be many people really benefits?The main job losers are in manufacturing..will there be more electronics sub assembly cos of a Rm30 million Balai Raya in Cangkat Jering

Pls get down to basics..simple ,logical and low fruits ;


Is there any talk about cutting costs?Is there any concern about sharing and feeling the burdens and feel for the rakyat?I have yet to see a Minister flying coach or Air Asia.

Instead govt organises a big DO...Gawai celebration in show the WORLD that we are united and happy...thats typical BN think..

No need LKY,No need Blue Ocean...just plain commitment to the Rakyat

Anonymous,  14 June 2009 at 19:37  

LKY did not have to come to Malaysia to 'gauge' possible scenarios. He could do that from home. He came here to tell everybody that at last, he was winning, and Umno had lost.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP