Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Reply gets prominent play in Malaysian media

By Reme Ahmad
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's reply to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's letter received prominent attention in Malaysia's mainstream newspapers and on the Internet yesterday.

Most newspapers published its contents in detail, focusing on the point that MM Lee had 'apologised' to Datuk Seri Abdullah for the comments he made during a dialogue in Singapore on Sept 15.

The English-language New Straits Times reported that MM Lee had apologised to Mr Abdullah for the remarks he had made about the treatment of Chinese in Malaysia and said that he had no intention of meddling in Malaysian politics.

It added: 'But he appeared to be steadfast in what he had earlier said, repeating some of the very comments that had infuriated Malaysians.'

The emphasis in its main rival, the more widely read Star newspaper, was a little different.

It said MM Lee had said sorry to Datuk Seri Abdullah for the 'discomfort' caused by his comments, and added that he had said it was the last thing he had wanted 'after a decade of troubled relations' with former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Most of the Malay newspapers carried straightforward reports about the contents of MM Lee's letter.

Only one Chinese paper gave the story front-page treatment. Sin Chew Daily ran the story under the headline 'MM Lee apologises for remarks on the marginalisation of Chinese in Malaysia'.

Others had blurbs on the front which directed readers to reports inside.

Barring Sin Chew Daily, none of the English or Malay-language newspapers referred to the annex that was with MM Lee's letter, which listed several recent occasions on which Malaysian leaders had commented on race relations in Singapore.

However, several had the full text of MM Lee's letter on their websites.

The scene in cyberspace was thus livelier.

In a story headlined 'Apologetic LKY takes a shot at Dr M', online news portal Malaysiakini noted that MM Lee 'appeared to be standing by his controversial statement' while he took a swipe at Tun Dr Mahathir.

Later yesterday, in 'Pak Lah remains unimpressed with Lee's apology', it said 'the qualified apology' had not had a great effect on Datuk Seri Abdullah.

The website also had a troika of political experts offering their reactions to MM Lee's 'apology'.

Its chief analyst James Wong Wing On observed: 'Lee Kuan Yew did indeed say sorry but he was smart as he did not retract what he said.'

Former political economics professor P. Ramasamy said: 'To me the fact of marginalisation is obvious. It doesn't matter if it comes from Lee or not.'

Mr Rustam Sani, a former lecturer in political siciology, pointed out: 'He was not saying 'sorry' for what he said... His justification was, 'I have to do this because you Umno leaders have made statements before on the Malays in Singapore'.'

Postings on other Internet forums and chatrooms also reflected the view that MM Lee had taken a potshot at Tun Dr Mahathir in the letter.

A site popular among the former premier's supporters,, said: 'He did not ask for apology for giving wrong information or facts. In other words, he is still defending his statement.'

The online version of Harakah, the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia's organ, said MM Lee had preferred to list Singapore's past 'victories' over Malaysia than apologise.

PAS secretary-general Kamaruddin Jaffar was quoted as saying that MM Lee declared Singapore the 'winner' in the Johor bridge issue by saying that Malaysia had not been willing to go to the International Court on it.

He also said that the Singapore leader had implied Umno leaders were not sincere when they advocated the rights of Malays in the Republic.

Blogger Ahirudin Attan, the former executive editor of the Malay Mail newspaper, who criticises Singapore regularly on his blog, wrote:

'LKY wasn't writing a response to the Malaysian PM; he was writing to the gallery. And he's scored a lot of points there.'


minuses said...

AAB: `"We have to ensure such a statement should not be made again."

Asked whether Wisma Putra would call on Singapore to retract the remarks, Syed Hamid said : "No. I think we have done what we could do. The prime minister has given his statement that is the position of the government.

End of story. Everyone lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 9:48:03 AM  
A Voice said...

Singapore has never any good intention on Malaysia, be it Malay or Chinese or other races.

Download and read this aarticle series Waspada Malaysia by a former PAP activist on

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 10:36:15 AM  
minuses said...

And The Incitement Continues...
Did I hear some people already lighting torches and marching towards their building already?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 11:08:16 AM  
HonestTruthful said...

To all who think Singapore should apologize,

I really don't understand what logic you based on to even think for a moment that Singapore should apologize. Why?

Hmm, let's look at it for a moment

1. He is merely stating the factual truth about Chinese marginalization whether you like it or not. Do a survey if you are still not convinced.

2. For years, UMNO politicians never hesitated to make highly publicized comments about Singapore's Malays being marginalized, and you don't see them (the Singapore politicians) make a big deal out of it did you?.

So, why are you guys so upset then? Afterall, the Malaysian politicians started it first.

Now, if you're pissed with them for other reasons, ok fine, but just don't get other issues confused with this issue.

In this case, there is nothing for MM Lee to apologize for. In fact, he's only showed the hypocricy on the Malaysian politics.

This entire episode makes a mockery of the Malaysian politics and biased media reporting. It's getting more embarassing by the day. Just look at the newspapers like The Star, NST, etc...they even headlined it to make it look like MM Lee actually apologized. What a bunch of croc shit!!

Wake up people !!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 6:03:52 PM  
bennyloh said...

What are you being asked for LKY? Explanations or apolgies?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 7:38:00 PM  
budakcina said...

A Voice said...
Singapore has never any good intention on Malaysia, be it Malay or Chinese or other races.

Why they offer so many places of their Universities to our Malaysian Chinese and how many places of our universities been offered to Singaporeans or Singaporean Malays?

Thursday, October 05, 2006 11:01:31 AM  

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