Singapore gags citizens’ criticism, says Dr M

(The Malaysian Insider) – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said last night that Singaporeans were not allowed to cast their government in a bad light.

The former prime minister was responding to Singapore Berita Harian readers who were reportedly unhappy with him for claiming that Singaporean Malays were marginalised.

“They have freedom of speech in Singapore where you can say what you like, so long as it is approving of the government,” Dr Mahathir told reporters after launching the movement Viva Palestina Malaysia here today.

“(You have freedom) as long as you don’t say something that the government of Singapore does not like,” he added.

On Thursday, national news agency Bernama reported several Singapore Berita Harian readers as saying that Malays on the island-republic enjoyed progress without subsidies and were on equal treatment with other communities.

One reader, Sallim Ahmad, reportedly said it had become Mahathir’s theme that “the Singapore Malays are being marginalised until the end of world.”

He also said the position of Islam was protected although it was not the official religion in the republic where Malays are the minority.

Another reader called Kamariah Lim Li Hwa was quoted as saying: “We the Malays of Singapore feel at ease and are grateful that the Singapore rulers execute our trust with transparency.”

Today, Dr Mahathir said Singaporeans were welcome to make such remarks, but that they were required to “be nice in Singapore”.

On Friday, Malay rights group Perkasa voiced similar sentiments in their defence of the former PM.

“No Malays in Singapore dare to talk the truth about the treatment they received,” Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali told The Malaysian Insider.