Monday, 24 January 2011

What does MM Lee mean when he urged Muslims in Singapore to be "less strict" to aid integration and nation building?

Update 7 February 2011:

A good response from a Malay who had lived in Singapore for 30 years now residing in the UK. Read: HMV (His Mentor's Voice) excerpts:
"There is nothing as depressing as watching a man way past his use-by date trying to revive the old glory days, strutting his opinionated  versions of what should be"

update 30 January 2011, finally the silence from the Singapore Government has been broken, PM Junior Lee has spoken:

Singapore PM defends island’s Muslim community

Still no reply fromm MM Lee though.

Original Post:

Blogger HL posted a report "Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew urges Muslims to 'be less strict'" . excerpts:

"Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew has urged local Muslims to "be less strict on Islamic observances" to aid integration and the city-state's nation-building process.
Singapore has a predominantly Chinese population, with minority races including Muslim Malays and Indians, and Lee has always stressed the importance of racial harmony.
"I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam," he said in "Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going," a new book containing his typically frank views on the city-state and its future.
"I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration -- friends, intermarriages and so on..." he stated.
"I think the Muslims socially do not cause any trouble, but they are distinct and separate," Lee added, calling on the community to "be less strict on Islamic observances."
During the book's launch on Friday, the self-described "pragmatist" warned Singaporeans against complacency, saying the largely ethnic Chinese republic was still a nation in the making.
Describing Singapore in the book as an "80-storey building on marshy land," Lee said it must contend with hostility from larger Muslim neighbours.
"We've got friendly neighbours? Grow up... There is this drive to put us down because we are interlopers," he said, citing alleged Malaysian and Indonesian efforts to undermine Singapore's crucial port business."
My thoughts are:
1. The Singapore General Elections are around the corner so its the normal divide and reign routine by the PAP stalwart.
2. Normally MM Lee bashes Malaysia, but since he went round the country in 2008 and make many friends  and admirers he cannot do that, so he settled by naming Malaysia and Indonesia as unfriendly Muslims neighbors. Sure is rich coming from MM Lee when Singapore which is basically a service provider hub which depends on the progress and prosperity of its "unfriendly neighbors".
3. MM Lee is profiling a race? Obviously the Malays are the predominant Muslims in Singapore, so is MM Lee a racist?
4. So by telling the Muslims in Singapore that they are different, isn't that magnifying the difference.
5. What does MM Lee meant by urging "Muslims to be less strict" to aid integration and nation building. This is a "ayat tergantung" unfinished sentence, not good as it invite a lot of speculations and you can't hardly blame them. Does MM Lee mean that Muslims should eat non halal food, pork or food cooked with lard? or should have sex before marriage, have many partners before get married? or should drink liquor? or should gamble? or should throw away the tudung perhaps dress sexily show some boobs? what, what exactly does Harry Lee meant by "urging Muslims to be less strict" many of us across the causeway are dying to know.
Anyway this was the politician who demanded a Malaysian Malaysia before the learned Tunku Abdul Rahman ousted little Singapore from Malaysia in 1967. 
Forty three years down the road, the wisdom of the the late Tunku's move can be clearly seen. The political divide and rule strategy of Harry Lee would have destroyed a multi racial and multi religious Malaysia.
Just wondering what Tok Guru Nik Aziz thinks of En. Lee now, would it still be a thumbs up sign?


Anonymous said...

We malays/muslims in singapore just heard abt the "less strict" statement today and we are also puzzled by what he meant. I feel uncomfortable with his statement. Want us to go against Islamic teachings for the sake of nation building & integration? Really? He mentioned abt the surge of Islam (kebangkitan Islam) - again. Why? Afraid of his own shadows? S'pore Muslims are generally compliant, no street protests, giving in even when there are obvious discriminations....and yet MM makes hurting remarks abt S'pore Muslims. MM Lee statement will be another headache for S'pore's Muslim leaders. Why headache? Becos they hv to make a statement that will "please" MM Lee, the S'pore Muslims & the S'pore Chinese.I'm not surprised if the statement/s will be "neither here or there".

eddy said...

I would not be surprised if you feel uncomfortable Anon. This is indeed a strange statement coming from MM Lee.

sushikin said...

Whats so strange, orang tua dah nanyuk. gitu lah.

koolmokcikZ said...


Nothing strange.

Read this

"There could come a time when the interest of the upper middle class will be divergent, that they don’t think they should subsidise the lower classes. They may well support a party which says, ‘No I don’t think this taxation is right. Why should I support the people in the two-room and three-room and four-room flats?’ We will widen the divide in our society. I don’t know when, but it will come,” he said.

He explained this was why the Government payed special attention to cater to the needs of those in the lower-income groups. Otherwise, it may result in the entrenchment of a ”disaffected, discontented and rebellious” underclass like in America might result, he added."

Who are those in the lower income groups?

Anonymous said...

Hi, i think we should not get too defensive about what MM Lee said.IMO, he was talking about a portion of the Muslim society that for example, would not attend a party if alcohol is being served or eat at a table with someone else if that person is eating non-halal food. I have muslim friends who would go to a chinese rest with me as long as we just ordered non-pork food. But there are also quite a number of muslims who would not even share a buffet table cos there are men taking from the buffet table. Actually if we had Orthodox Jews in huge numbers in singapore, i am sure he too would have mentioned them.we should take criticism and talk calmly about them.

eddy said...

Thanks for your comment Anon, I just wish MM Lee would clarify what he said because lets face it, it is a hung sentence and unless there are such comments which put things in their right perspective like yours, then people will just speculate.

Anonymous said...

I'm Anon 25 Jan. I agree with you eddy. MM Lee must clarify his "less strict" statement otherwise there will only be speculations on what he actually meant. But, in S'pore, who in the media or Ministers even, has the guts to question MM? I really hope to hear his clarifications soon.

Anonymous said...

Lee Kuan Yew maybe a a wise man whom some seek advice and guidance. When he made that comment about Muslim ans Islam, he had downgraded his intelligence. He has no right to preach Islam teachings. Asking us to be more moderate? Singaporean Muslim had been moderated alot. Start walking around Singapore and don't depend on your politicians alot.

I don't think this issue need to be discussed further. His comment about Muslim and Islam is already wrong.

Now because of his word, I will definitely throw my vote to the oppositions. Someday people will bring them back to touch the real ground.