Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Dr M

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed has poured scorn on the oratory skills of Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in a documentary – “Mahathir” shown on the Starhub History Channel last Sunday at 8pm.

The two-part documentary relates the tumultuous political career of Dr Mahathir who lost his parliamentary seat in the 1969 election and was sacked from his party UMNO before making a stunning comeback as Education Minister in 1974.

Dr Mahathir was to become Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister in 1981. He is credited with modernizing Malaysia which was largely an agricultural country back then.

The elder statesman was no fan of Lee and had several heated arguments with him in the Dewan Rakyat when Singapore was part of Malaysia in the period 1963 – 65.

In the documentary, Dr Mahathir criticized Lee for his propensity to give long speeches. He claimed that Lee became flustered after he interjected his speech repeatedly with sharp questions which he could not answer.

Both parties almost come to blows with each other in a heated exchange on 25 September 1964 when Dr Mahathir (then MP for Alor Star) made the following stinging remark towards Lee in the Dewan Rakyat:

“They (Singaporean Chinese) have never known Malay rule and cannot bear the idea that the people they have so long kept under their heels should now be in a position to rule them.”

Lee Kuan Yew shot back:

“Of course there are Chinese millionaires in big cars and big houses. Is it the answer to make a few Malay millionaires with big cars and big houses? … If we delude people into believing that they are poor because there are no Malay rights or because opposition members oppose Malay rights, where are we going to end up?”

Relationships between Singapore and Malaysia were prickly during Mahathir’s reign as Prime Minister and were frequently strained over unresolved bilateral issues like the sale of water to Singapore from the southern state of Johor.

Lee did not visit Dr Mahathir during his recent visit to Malaysia in June which drew a sarcastic remark from the latter than he was not a important figure.

True to his combative nature, Dr Mahathir wrote an acerbic article on his blog chedet lampooning Lee as a “little emperor”:

“During Lee Kuan Yew’s triumphant visit to Malaysia he made it known to the Malaysian supplicants that Singapore regards the lands within 6000 miles radius of Singapore as its hinterland. This includes Beijing and Tokyo and of course Malaysia……..All those who met the great man from the little country were lectured on how Malaysia should be run. We should not have anymore problems now. We have been told the direction to take……I have a lot more to say about this little Emperor but I will reserve it for later.”

Surprisingly, the litigious Lee has never sued Dr Mahathir for defamation in court despite the latter’s obvious contempt for him.

In fact, Lee was forced to issue a rather humiliating public apology to the Malaysian government led by Dr Mahathir in 1997 when he made disparaging remarks about Johor being an unsafe place “notorious for shootings, robberies and car-jacking” in an affidavit filed against WP candidate Tang Liang Hong for defamation.

The second part of the documentary will be shown this Sunday at 8pm on History Channel (Starhub Channel 9)


David said...

So, what do you think of Dr M & Mr Lee, then? What are you trying to make/mean for the comparison?

I think Dr M as a Malaysian National wiser & more qualified & most powerful leader in history but the 4th PM is a failure in his overall leadership for Malaysians or Malaysia particularly for Eastern Malaysia where Malays were once a minority. Perhaps it is still is. He had more than 22 years to change, educate, adjust, modifiy or reform/restructure Malays' attitude & approach towards Chinese & Indian & other many minorities especially those greedy with hatred & ignorance in UMNO leaderships eversince Dr Mahathir joined politics. He just cannot be a kind with full of compassion man & or even he cannot be a humble professional Doctor in my mind-heart with the kind/way he is speaking. He is cunning enough but an intelligent man! He should be a lawyer by nature instead yet he is not qualified with his narrow of heart & mind! How many ways of skinning a cat? And who is actually the mouse instead, I wonder?

Mr Lee though not perfect had been delivering excellent services right to local residents of Singapore right their doorsteps as well as to regional neighbours' advantages or benifits if not to the whole world! Just lately, we can see clearly all the positive in his wholesome doings. Today Singapore Malays are proud catching up with 21st century global challenges!

mangchikla said...

Both have oveblown ego a humungous as the petronas twin tower.And of course, senile ...

angchoonseong said...

FYI, I read the article in the temasek review and thought it would be interesting to share with my reader.

I dont think I have read or researched enough to make any good comment to compare both of them.

My superficial view is that, we should look at a statesman's profile in terms of his doing and undoing. Dr M's doing would be his success in bringing Malaysia to another different level in terms of economy and wealth. His undoing would be him taking the easier option to cement his power,which the nation-building is paying the price.

What Mr Lee did for Spore in terms of economy, would be dead obvious, but on the other hand, due to Spore well-being and prosperity just now, it would be hard for us to see his undoing yet. People are still happy as their life is as good as ever, but when the picture gets ugly, then they will start digging holes, and then we'll see.

David said...

Haha, i am merely talking about as a leadership particular issue as far as Singapore & Malaysia are concerned with our A.S.E.A.N cultures as well as IN TERM of their growth & deveolpment as a City, a State or a nation. such like a family, a father is a leadership! How he lead bring up & contril & discipline his children & pass over the commitment or responsibility to the next generation. For that Lee has done much better all in all.

angchoonseong said...

David, I cant agree more on that note. mukhriz vs lee hsien loong? no way. ha ha ha.

David said...

How can we compare them? One hasn't done anything yet, yet he is now suddenly a famous UMNO leadership as well as a Sitting Minister just because the junior poker-face Tun Abdul Razak Najib is now a hand picked 6th Prime Minister in order just to complete the supestitious word, Rahman, R.A.H.M.A.N.? I hope & wish Najib can do a better job with his long term exposure in UMNO for this 1Malaysia otherwise he will be out of job. I believe Singapore ruling party PAP had lined up or at least in the process of lining up to the 4th generation to take over leadership anytime unless PAP fail to serve/deliver the good services to Singapore people. I still hope & wish Malaysia & Singapore can work hand in hand for mutual advantages under favourable ASEAN CHARTER BINDING/AGREEMENT WHICH THEY ARE NOW WORKING HARD ON. ASEAN with more than 500 millions of population has greater potential to compete with super or gaint countries like China, India, Korea & Japan in ASIA.