Friday, October 27, 2006

Political: Anwar Ibrahim Press Statement on Lee Kuan Yew's remarks

unexpected and interesting reaction from anwar ibrahim in response to lee kuan yew's remarks. anwar cites cambridge professor and nobel laureate Amartya Sen who has concluded in his brilliant paper that Lee's definition and understanding of "Asian values" to be inconsistent and obsolete. i had uploaded that paper in this blog a long time ago which is lengthy and wordy but worth reading every word of it.

Monday, October 02, 2006
Anwar Ibrahim Press Statement


Former Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew recently criticised Malaysia and Indonesia for marginalising the Chinese. This clearly presumes that the Chinese communities in the two countries are not treated fairly. We should respond with a fresh dialogue since it touches on the basic issues of a constitutional democracy, economic management, racial unity and social justice.

Under current practices, a free dialogue take place only in Indonesia. I doubt the possibility that such a dialogue can be allowed either in Singapore or Malaysia where laws restricting freedom and the media continue to operate. Lee Kuan Yew is now a respected statesman due to his record of initiating continuous economic growth and managing the city-state.

Nevertheless, his record is tarnished from clamping down on free speech, as well as oppressing and imprisoning his political enemies. Furthermore, the involvement of the state’s companies in a few neighbouring countries is criticised for lack of accountability. Amartya Sen has now rendered obsolete his once-dominant ideal of “Asian Values”.

Clearly Lee Kuan Yew is still trapped by his outdated thinking. His argument exposes the element of racism which has been suppressed for so long. Therefore he recognises the problems of Chinese overseas but not the anxiety of the neglected Singaporean Malays. Furthermore, what is regretted is the fact that he does not show any concern to the plight of other marginalised races in Malaysia or Indonesia, whether the bumiputra or Indians.

In fact in Indonesia, the latest statistics reveal nearly 40 million people trapped by poverty. Lee Kuan Yew should look at racial and development issues from the basis of justice for all races. Clearly he should understand the fact that when the New Economic Policy was initiated in 1970, the stake of the Malays and bumiputra in the economy was a mere 1.8 percent.

The success of the NEP in education, producing a critical mass of professionals and providing business opportunitie should be acknowledged. However the policy has been hijacked, leading to corruption and cronyism, enriching the few and marginalising the majority of the bumiputra. The fruits of the NEP are also shared by a few Chinese and Indian corporations selected to receive contracts for mega projects, independent power production and the gaming sector.

I have put forward a New Economic Agenda to replace the out of date NEP. The country should be more competitive and prepared to face globalisation. We must take care of the poor and marginalised, eradicate corruption and provide opportunity for all races to propel a more robust and vigorous economy.

Lee Kuan Yew has been comfortable all this while with neigbouring autocrats that share a similar racial perspective. He must now accept that more and more people of the region now demand freedom and justice for all as the new paradigm for the 21st century.

Advisor of People’s Justice Party


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