Dr M rails against ‘little Emperor’ Kuan Yew

(The Malaysian Insider) – With no love lost between him and Lee Kuan Yew, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pulled no punches today and called the Singapore leader “a little Emperor … of a tiny Middle Kingdom” lecturing Malaysian leaders on how to run the country in his recent “triumphant visit to Malaysia”.

The longest-serving Malaysian prime minister also took a swipe at his successor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, calling him “the great 5th Prime Minister” who had decided not to build a new bridge or settle other outstanding issues with the island republic when Johoreans said they did not want to sell sand to Singapore for its reclamation works.

“During Lee Kuan Yew’s triumphant visit to Malaysia, he made it known to the Malaysian supplicants that Singapore regards the lands within 6,000 miles radius of Singapore as its hinterland. This includes Beijing and Tokyo and, of course, Malaysia,” Dr Mahathir said in posting at his popular www.chedet.cc.

He did not meet Kuan Yew, who is Singapore’s longest-serving prime minister, during the latter’s eight-day visit to Malaysia which ended today. The two leaders had an acrimonious relationship while in power.

“Of course this self-deluding perception places Singapore at the centre of a vast region. It is therefore the latter day Middle Kingdom. The rest are peripheral and are there to serve the interest of this somewhat tiny Middle Kingdom,” he added.

Dr Mahathir pointed out Kuan Yew’s explanation that Singapore Chinese would control the “Iskandar whatever” was not justified as Malays could work there, sarcastically saying “It is good to know that Malays can also work in their own country. I wonder as what? Maybe someone should make a study of the Malays of Singapore just to know what it is like to be a Malay minority in their own country”

He has been a long-term critic of the Iskandar development corridor launched by Abdullah three years ago, saying Singapore would dominate Malaysian territory, which is modelled on the fast-growing Shenzen region across Hong Kong.

Lee Kuan Yew meeting Perak's Sultan Azlan Shah while in Ipoh recently.


Dr Mahathir also picked up his pet peeve about the price of raw water being sold to Singapore at 3 sen per 1,000 gallons under two agreements made in the 1960s.

“Lee says it was absurd for the former Prime Minister of hinterland Malaysia to ask to increase it to RM8 per 1,000 gallons. I don’t know where he got this. Some Malaysian officers did suggest this figure but we were ready to bargain and maybe settle for RM3.

“And why not? Johor sells raw water to Malacca for 30 sen, 1,000% higher than to Singapore. And Malacca is, I believe, a part of Malaysia! Some Malaysians may see the irony of this,” he added.

Reserving some vitriol for his favourite whipping boy, Abdullah, Dr Mahathir said, “The great 5th Prime Minister has decided that since the people of Johor did not want to sell sand to Singapore, Malaysia would not build any bridge, straight or crooked, or negotiate and settle the other issues like the Central Provident Fund, the Railway land.

“Maybe the 5th Prime Minister thinks he is punishing Singapore. Actually he is giving Singapore what its wants, including the 3 sen per 1,000 gallons water until 2060. Think of how many grains of nasi lemak we can buy with 3 sen in 2060. Imagine what 1,000 gallons will earn for Singapore at that time. Can’t think of a more astute PM for Malaysia,” he added

He also made a stinging observation about Kuan Yew’s visit to Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Ipoh, Penang, Kota Bharu and Kuantan with his delegation in the past week.

“All those who met the great man from the little country were lectured on how Malaysia should be run. We should not have any more problems now. We have been told the direction to take. MCA must help Umno to win because Singapore does not want an Islamic party like PAS to win. We must ensure this.

“Sorry, PAS. Working with the DAP, the offspring of PAP has not endeared you to Mr Lee,” he wrote.

But he promised this was not the end of his diatribe against Kuan Yew.

“I have a lot more to say about this little Emperor but I will reserve it for later,” Dr Mahathir vowed.