Singapore's hard man puts his foot in it again
Tuesday 18 March 1997
They are up in arms over his comments on the border state of Johore and demanding retaliation by the Malaysian government which will discuss its stand at a cabinet meeting tomorrow.
Mr Lee is famous for telling other countries how to run their affairs, while being equally adamant that he will not tolerate foreign interference in Singapore. He sees no contradiction in this position but may have finally gone too far.
The latest row exploded when lawyers for an opposition politician, Tang Liang Hong, released an affidavit made by Mr Lee, who was suing him for libel.
In the affidavit, Mr Lee expressed surprise that Mr Tang was seeking refuge in Johore which he described as being "notorious for shootings, muggings and car-jackings". Yesterday Mr Lee said that not only did he unreservedly apologise but would seek to have the offending remarks deleted from the court record.
This description of a neighbouring state was bad enough in itself, but added to a growing feeling that Singaporeans in general, and Mr Lee in particular, were doing Malaysia down. Last year Mr Lee caused outrage when he suggested that his fellow countrymen would have to pull up their socks or they might be forced back into a federation with Malaysia - a union ended on his insistence in 1965.
Also simmering is a feeling that Singapore discriminates against its minority Malay Muslim population in favour of the majority Chinese population.
Malaysia, which supplies Singapore with its water, most of its food and a significant proportion of its labour force, is in a strong position to retaliate if it feels that Singapore is stepping out of line.
The New Straits Times, the country's leading newspaper, has called for a withdrawal of all contacts with Mr Lee and his son Lee Hsien Loong, who serves as a deputy prime minister.
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...