07 February, 2011
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dismissed in a recent book Lee Kuan Yew’s achievements as the founding father of Singapore, and accused the island republic’s minister mentor of once wanting to be prime minister of Malaysia.
“The fact remains that he is the mayor of Singapore,” the former Malaysian prime minister was quoted as saying in “Doctor M: Operation Malaysia — Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad”, written by US journalist Tom Plate based on interviews with Dr Mahathir over the last two years.
“This is something he doesn’t like. He wants to be big, you see and he feels that we took away his opportunity to lead a real country.”
Dr Mahathir also described Lee as “a big frog in a small pond” whose ambitions of being prime minister of Malaysia resulted in Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first prime minister, “realising he had to move Kuan Yew out.”
Singapore had joined Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form the Federation of Malaysia in 1963 when Tunku was still prime minister.
Parliament voted to expel Singapore in 1965 following conflict over pro-Bumiputera policies favoured by Umno but rejected by Lee’s People’s Action Party (PAP).
Although their terms as prime minister only overlapped for nine years, Dr Mahathir and Lee have been at loggerheads for as long as Malaysia and Singapore have existed.
The two statesmen have clashed ever since both were in the Malaysian Parliament in the 1960s and the feud has continued up to now, with two books published recently that contain attacks on each other’s legacies.
“People look at him as an intellectual, as something more than just an ordinary politician, so he is always invited to give his views on things, and to that extent he is something bigger than Singapore,” Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister from 1981 to 2003, added in the latest book....more