29 March, 2007

M'sia Jealous Of S'pore Claim A Shallow View, Says FM Official

The claim by a Singapore member of parliament that Malaysia was jealous of Singapore's progress was a shallow view, the Dewan Rakyat was told Thursday.

Foreign Ministry parliamentary secretary Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the claim was unwarranted as Malaysia held to the "Prosper Thy Neighbour" concept in fostering friendly ties with its neighbours.

In line with the concept, Malaysia believed the success and prosperity enjoyed by any neighbouring country was also good for the country, he said.

"As a sovereign nation in a region where the countries are inter-twined and dependent on each other, Malaysia wants its neighbours to succeed and prosper as their prosperity can be shared through spin-offs," he said when replying to Datuk Dr Abdul Rahaman Ismail (BN-Gombak) during question time.

Dr Abdul Rahman had asked the extent of truth to the claim by a Singapore member of parliament that Malaysia was jealous of Singapore and what action the government took to address the claim.

Ahmad Shabery said Malaysia-Singapore bilateral relations were still "haunted" by unsettled issues and historical ties.

Nonetheless, Malaysia still pursued good neighbourliness with its neighbours by maintaining close and friendly bilateral ties with them, he said.

Replying to a supplementary question from the same member, Ahmad Shabery said the negative perception of some Asean countries on their neighbours would not jeopardise efforts to establish an Asean Common Market by 2015.

"We can establish the common market if we are conscious of our respective roles. We believe the reservations of some Asean countries on Singapore will not be an obstacle for us to have friendly ties with any country," he added.

Singapore: MM Lee honoured amid lively exchange

MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew received an honorary degree from the prestigious Australian National University (ANU) yesterday, amid a heated exchange with reporters.
Mr Lee, 83, who was Singapore's prime minister from independence until 1990, received an honorary doctorate in law and said he was no stranger to hostile receptions, as some 50 students and academics held up banners against him and chanted slogans outside the venue at the ANU's Canberra campus.
"If they didn't protest, nobody would know that I was given an honorary degree at ANU," he said. "Despite their protest, the ANU proceeded and I was not deterred from coming."
Having praised Australia's "exceptional growth" of the past 15 years during his acceptance speech, Mr Lee later told reporters critical of his no-nonsense style of governance: "It's not going to change me and I'm not going to change you." He added: "We're going to prosper, you're going to prosper. But if I allowed you to run my country, it will spiral downwards and hit rock bottom."
Asked about a remark he made in the 1980s that Australians were destined to become the "poor white trash of Asia", Mr Lee said it was apt for that era. "There are some words sometime said in the heat of an argument, which perhaps at that time was warranted." He explained that the country then had a "White Australia" and "Asian exclusion" policy. The laws have changed since then.
The award citation said ANU conferred the doctorate on the grounds of Mr Lee's service to developing Singapore, international statesmanship and friendship to Australia. But the decision had angered his critics, who charged that he had stifled democracy.
ANU arts-law student Ben Lyons said it was deeply offensive that the university was giving a doctorate of law to someone who used the justice system to repress dissent.
"There are a lot of students as well as academics who are quite angry about both the fact that we're giving Lee Kuan Yew a doctorate and the way it was conducted," Mr Lyons said.
Some law students argue the award may be invalid because the honorary degree committee did not discuss it before the approval by the ANU Council. Defending the move, ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Chubb said: "Ultimately, whatever process you follow, it's a decision of the council anyway."
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said earlier in the week that while there had been international concern about human rights issues in Singapore, Mr Lee was a "great regional leader". "The fact is, in the overall sense, Singapore has been a spectacular success," Mr Downer said.
Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said ANU had crassly used its degree system to honour an undeserving figure. "He eliminated opposition as effectively as he eliminated chewing gum," he told reporters.



Anonymous ed said...

"We're going to prosper, you're going to prosper. But if I allowed you to run my country, it will spiral downwards and hit rock bottom."

If one was to study the stats, one would find that singaporeans have become significantly poorer since this bloke took power. Wealth cannot be considered from the 'per capita income' perspective without the consideration of 'per capita debt' and 'per capita liability'. When the increasing cost of housing, medical liabilities, amongst others, are considered, singaporeans are comparatively poor indeed when compared to malaysians.

Finally, if some australians are of the opinion that lee is a 'great leader', then why, pray tell, do they offer safe havens to those who run from this country? Shouldn't they send back stating that they ought to have no cause for complaint as they have a 'great leader'?

March 29, 2007 8:57 PM  

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