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Shame your citizens to win the elections: Lee Kuan Yew to Mahathir

Posted on 23 October 2012

Keep to your existing campaigning strategy and you will win the upcoming elections, said former Minister Mentor of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew to Malaysia’s longest serving Prime Minister over the weekend.

“I shamed my people. I called them lazy. I said they needed spurs in their hides and I told an entire constituency that they would repent if they voted the opposition. And we still won,” his Leeness told Dr M in a wide-ranging discussion at his Oxley Road residence.

His Leeness was responding to Dr M’s column on the UMNO-owned Utusan Malaysia, where he called the Malays “ungrateful” and “lacking intelligence” and warned that the greed of a few power-hungry Malays in the opposition would see the country’s dominant race lose its political power.

“The Malays will no longer hold dominance in the government that they were so willing to share with others,” Dr M said in the column, expressing sadness that the Malay voter base was split into three factions, resulting in the bumiputeras having to beg for support from the Chinese and Indians who enjoy equal, but lesser rights.

Singapore’s People’s Action Party won by a landslide victory in last year’s general elections with 60.1% of the vote, though the biased western media reported the victory as a narrow one, and the lowest margin of victory for the PAP since Singapore’s independence. Likewise, Malaysia’s ruling Barisan has won every single election since independence, though the alternative media has been playing up the influence of the opposition, led by Anwar Ibrahim.

Though the PAP has returned to power with “strong mandate to govern” aided by his Leeness’s strongman presence, a successful leadership transition following the elections has ensured that older leaders of the party will be able to take a few months off to study cooking in France, if they so wish. Lee stepped down from politics last year and currently serves as an MP for Tanjong Pagar constituency.

Lee advised Dr M to hand over his reins to his successor, though the Malaysian patriarch expressed worry that without his iron hand, Malaysia would liberalise too quickly. Abolishing the internal security act — a law used to jail people for their political beliefs — for example, opened the door to extremism, he said.

“The key to this is soft control,” Lee said. “It took me a bit of convincing, but when the younger MPs told me that political control could be automated by keeping Singaporeans preoccupied in an infinite loop called a national conversation, I was sold. There is nothing more beautiful than giving your people the illusion of political participation, as they chew on questions that they have no way of answering. Co-opt your bloggers by inviting them over to your house for tea. Show them that you care, and make sure that the ‘national conversation’ appears in the papers every single day, no matter how inane the conversation topic is. You can even have a conversation about the conversation if you so wish!”

“And the best thing about the whole exercise is, your people have so little access to the resources of the government, or the accounts of state-linked enterprises that they won’t even know what questions to ask!” he said.

“But for now, continue shaming your citizens. Your views, like mine, are will forever be relevant in any generation because we built our respective countries. If your Malays are lazy, let them know. This generation of Singaporeans are so complacent, and I never let them forget it. Shaming and scaring always works, as it had in our earlier days.”

“I have to admit it though, I do it partly for attention. But I’ve come to realise that while it is better to be feared, I prefer being feared and loved at the same time. Now whenever I feel displaced by modernity, I go online and gaze at the numerous notes left behind by Singaporeans when my death was falsely announced. You should try it too. But retire after this elections, ok M?” Lee said.

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  • JudeSeah

    “The Malays will no longer hold dominance in the government that they were so willing to share with others,” Dr M said in the column, ……….. resulting in the bumiputeras having to beg for support from the Chinese and Indians who enjoy equal, but lesser rights.

    the last sentence, Dr M is George Orwell?