Friday, August 9, 2013

Pakatan: Lee Kuan Yew like Dr Mahathir, fears waxing opposition

By Boo Su-Lyn and Syed Jaymal Zahiid August 8, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — Like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Singapore’s founder Lee Kuan Yew is an “authoritarian figure” who fears the growth of Malaysia’s opposition force for the democratic principles may spread across the Causeway, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs said.
Malaysia’s opposition parliamentarians suggested that the Singapore statesman’s recent disparaging remarks in his latest book is due to a mixture of envy and dread that the three-party pact appears to inspire among the island republic’s budding opposition seeking to challenge its ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).
“LKY is concerned with the maturity of Malaysian politics because like-minded Singaporeans are now looking to Indonesia and Malaysia as models for a more vibrant and mature democracy,” PKR’s Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli told The Malay Mail Online, referring to Lee by his initials.
“The fact that there is a two-party system now in Malaysia strikes fear in LKY’s heart,” said the strategy director of PKR, a founding partner in PR.
Rafizi was responding to the acid-tongue Lee — father to current Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong — who branded the Malaysian opposition bloc an “opportunistic ad-hoc group” that was not even held together by a “vaguely coherent set of ideas”, but by a “common desire to unseat the government” in his book “One Man’s View of the World”, launched on Tuesday.
Rafizi labelled the elder Lee an “authoritarian figure” and remarked on the former Singapore prime minister’s similarity to the latter’s contemporary and Malaysia’s fourth prime minister Dr Mahathir.
Dr Mahathir, Rafizi noted, had previously said in a comment on development in Malaysian politics that “the choice is always for the lesser between two evils”.
Tony Pua, the up-and-coming PKR leader’s PR ally from the DAP, also pointed out that Lee has “conveniently ignored the fact that Pakatan Rakyat has successfully administered Penang and Selangor over the past five years”.
“What is more, the people themselves have returned us to power with even greater majorities in the state assemblies,” the DAP national publicity secretary told The Malay Mail Online yesterday, referring to Malaysia’s May 5 general election that saw the BN cede more seats in the federal and state law-making Houses to PR.
The opposition also won 51 per cent of the popular vote, with the support coming mostly from the cities while the rural electorate remained a bedrock for the BN.
Pua said Lee and the PAP are probably ‘highly envious’ of Pakatan’s success.Pua said Lee and the PAP are probably ‘highly envious’ of Pakatan’s success.“This is as opposed to the trend in Singapore where PAP is tumbling down the slippery slope with significantly reduced majorities and popular votes.
“The ringing endorsement by the voters allows the track records and achievements of the so-called ‘dysfunctional’ Pakatan Rakyat to speak for itself,” the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said.
Pua said Lee and the PAP were probably “highly envious” of PR’s success.
Singapore’s long-dominant PAP, which the elder Lee had co-founded over half a century ago, lost two by-elections recently amid rising discontent in the city-state over housing, the high cost of living and immigration.
The ruling PAP, which has been in power for more than 50 years, also suffered its worst performance ever in the 2011 general election, where six opposition members — all from the Workers’ Party — were elected into the 87-seat Parliament.
The opposition’s victory in the by-election for the Punggol East district last January increased the parliamentary representation of the Workers’ Party to seven seats.
Lee had also written in his book that when it came to the crunch, PR would not be able to get rid of Malay supremacy.
“The moment the bluff is called and it is handed the full power to push ahead it will either be torn apart from within or be paralysed by indecision,” said Lee, who turns 90 next month.
Pua said in response that Lee, “possibly for vested interest”, appeared to be heeding Dr Mahathir’s advice that “it is better the devil you know”.
“It is regretted that LKY with his more sophisticated analytical skills chose to only look at things skin-deep in Malaysia,” said Pua.
“There is no question that DSAI is a Malay and he is Pakatan’s designated PM. But the failure to look beyond DSAI’s race means he has failed to appreciate the reforms which are the core planks of our manifesto.
“DSAI’s Malaysia’s Economic Agenda stipulates clearly that Malaysians will be given assistance based on needs, and not race,” he stressed, referring to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
PAS central working committee member Khalid Samad said it was clear that Lee had not read PR’s “Buku Jingga”, a document containing the opposition pact’s reform plans for the country.
The Shah Alam MP noted that PR has “clear and distinct” policies, as shown in Selangor, which are “democratisation” and “emphasis on good governance.”

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