Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wrong Line of Defense

Recently Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew published a new book, Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going. In the book, he commented on various issues affecting Singapore including his view that the Muslim community don’t do enough to integrate with the rest of society.

His comments have caused outrage within the region as many Muslims were offended by his views. Quite naturally, the Singapore government has gone into damage control mode. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is also Lee Kuan Yew’s son, stepped forward to say his views are different from those of his father. Dr Yaacob Ibrahim Singapore’s Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs has also stepped out to defend Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s comments. He said that the MM’s views on the Muslim community are a “worst-case scenario”.

I agree that the government must defend the MM’s views in his books. For better or worse, the MM and Singapore are one and the same. Whether you agree or not with this view, this is something a lot of people feel so the Singapore government has to defend him from critics. It is also important to control the damage created as the Muslim community in the region seemed truly offended by his views. I mean when even the docile Muslim community in Singapore express unhappiness at the comments in the books, you know it is serious.

However I believe the Singapore government is taking the wrong tack. Anyone who read the book could tell you this; the MM’s views on the Muslim community are NOT a “worst-case scenario”. At no time in the book was it stated by the MM that his view was a “worst-case scenario.” If the main man did not call his views a “worst-case scenario,” the Singapore government can’t. No one who read the book will agree with them.

If they wish to continue this line of defense, then they need to prove that the MM said it (or something like it) but it was left on the editing floor and never published. Better yet, have the MM come out and say it himself. Let him say that he meant no offence to the Muslims and his views should be considered as a “worst-case scenario.”

If the Singapore government can do that, the problem will be solved and the whole thing will blow over. And considering the outrage within the region, the sooner this whole mess blows over, the better for Singapore.


Anonymous said...

Something like half a dozen ST journalists including Han FK himself, the editor of ST, listening to him from across the table, not to mention the subsequent proof readings that the manuscript must have gone through AND final approval by the man himself before it went to the printer.

What fools do the PM and minister yakob take us to be? Were his words seditious? That I would leave it to his courts to decide!

Ghost said...

The word “seditious” should not be thrown around lightly. I for one would not call it that because it is the MM’s personal views and everyone has a right to his views whether you agree to them or not.

Anonymous said...

As one blogger asked in his blog: what about the 3 youngsters recently investigated by the police for posting and Alan Shakedrake's book. Aren't they 'personal views' too?

Can a person like lky ever claim that his personal views did not enter into his policies and decisions. On the contrary, still other bloggers has given examples of where his bias has apparently influenced certain relevant policies and govt actions/decisions. The law must not only apply to all, it must also be seen to be so too. No one is above them. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

What are the ingredients for a statement to be considered seditious? As I have said this is up to the courts to decide and PUBLICLY too.

Anonymous said...

Whether personal views or not, spoken or written words which are deemed seditious according to Singapore Laws, which have been applied several times in the past (against young bloggers and others), have to be taken as so, irrespective of who has spoken/written such words, without any exception. No one is above the Law.

I fully agree that the Judiciary has to interpret carefully and justly, decide decisively and make a rightful stand on this point.

This is my personal view too

Ghost said...

As Anon Feb 2nd said, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I don't support the government using the laws against bloggers and the opposition, so why should I support it against members of the government? That's not even counting the fact that for what LKY did for Singapore, the man is more than entitled to his views.