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.