I have always admired Lee Kuan Yew for what he did for Singapore and his zero tolerance against corruptions making Singapore one of the least corrupted nations in the world.Much of what Singapore is today have been the results of the foundation set by him.
His recent seemingly friendly tour of this country is much more than meets the eye.His visit is not walking down memory lane as the press made it out to be.As I have mentioned earlier in my article 'The Puzzling Visit of The Malaysian Malaysia Man', Lee has a mission, a fact finding tour of Malaysia's neo-political gambit, the resurrection of democracy and too much of it what he fears could be the beginning of the making of a true Islamic nation right on his doorstep.
Lee is a man who do not fully subscribe to Western-type democracy, which he has seen and experienced during his time fighting the communist menace, the harm it can do to a nation and its people, unprepared for absolute freedom. That's why Singapore has the same type of draconian laws as Malaysia but has not used it indiscriminately.Lee prefers to use the court to end his opponents political career.The end justify the means.The end results the same.It kills any opposition.
Why did Lee meet all those dignitaries and even more puzzling why did the Malaysian government allowed him such convenience when he is actually on an official visit to this country? One must not forget that Lee is still a member of the Singapore cabinet.
The only man who could read Lee's intention, is his match.... Mahathir Mohammad.He minced no word when he called Lee Kuan Yew 'little Emperor of a tiny Middle Kingdom'. Yes, this little emperor has come to reclaim Malaysia as its hinterland, which ex-Premier Abdullah has conveniently made available on the platter to Singapore.
Mahathir has a patchy relation with Lee during his twenty two years as prime minister.Both men don't see eye to eye.Both are authoritarian and want the best for their country.Lee was aghast with Malaysia's accelerated development under Mahathir, which do not augers well with Singapore status as the top service and financial centre in the region. The thought of losing Malaysia and Indonesia as its hinterland is frightening to Lee Kuan Yew at that time.
Mahathir believes in and prefers prosper thy neighbour policy. Lee, on the other hand, prefers underdeveloped and inefficient neighbours. Good for Singapore's business.
I remember when I was doing timber export in the seventies and eighties when Malaysian ports were still small, inefficient and not cost effective, we have to truck our timber from as far as Pahang and Kelantan to Singapore for shipments.Even with the trucking costs it worked out to be cheaper than sending to Pork Klang where frequency of ships calling the port was erratic and unreliable.Through Singapore port you can ship small volume at any time.For bulk cargo we usually charter the ship to the nearest port, Kuantan, Pasir Gudang or Port Klang.
With Mahathir things begin to change, he spared no effort to build better and world class infrastructures for the country.New ports,new airport,world class highways and other development that elevate Malaysia status to a developing nation.Now, Malaysia has many ports with good infrastructure.
Singapore, was in a way lucky because it already has the basic infrastructures of an entrepot left by the British and was the only well-managed and well equipped port east of the Suez, after the collapse of the port of Aden, which used to be the biggest bunkering port in the world when it was under British rule.
Take a look at some of the personalities whom Lee paid courtesy calls.Sultan of Perak, Lim Guan Eng of Pinang, Nik Aziz of Kelantan and the most perplexing of all Rosmah, the Prime Minister's wife.
The Sultan of Perak is embroiled in the Perak crisis, Lim is chief minister of opposition controlled state and Nik Aziz is spiritual leader of PAS whom I think he has no liking for.He came to pick their brains.
Lee is making a personal appraisal of the political situation in the country and trying to gauge whether Najib and the BN can hold the fort in the next general elections.I believe Lee has no personal liking for Anwar Ibrahim either, not if going by Anwar's culture of defiance and his reformasi movement of protests, demonstrations and civil disobedience.Lee Kuan Yew has no stomach for this kind of politics.
As I have said the most incredible was the meeting with Rosmah whom he said is working as a team with the husband.Where in heaven's name he gets the idea that Rosmah is working as a team with Najib? Who is the prime minister? She can provide moral support to her husband but has no business getting involve in matters of government. Lee has some kind words for her. Sincere or not, only he knows.Was the meeting to check out as to what kind of a woman Rosmah is? Lee is impressed with her charm and says both her and Najib are warm, positive and forthcoming.
Lee must be a grudging old man and is still sore. The least he could do is to pay a courtesy call on his old foe and let bygones be bygones.Mahathir, rightfully, must have been slighted by Lee's lack of statesmanship.