Once again the hubristic MM Lee Kuan Yew has incurred the wrath of the public, this time the Association of Malay Professionals (AMP). And it is on no less weighty a subject than his disparaging comments on the Singapore Malays in his much- hyped but of doubtful repute book Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going. He commented that other communities have easier integration than the Muslims because they tend to be "distinct and separate".
The AMP is the latest Malay elite body to not mince words in its scathing attack on the so- called benign Minister Mentor which is published in The Online Citizen and Temasek Review websites. Surprisingly, the Straits Times published some relevant excerpts of the article today. Yesterday ST carried the statement of the Muslim Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) on the subject which is in a pathetic conciliatory tone, in stark contrast to the vitriolic criticism of the AMP.
Some government and opposition leaders in Malaysia and Indonesia were highly critical of MM Lee's disparaging remarks of the Singapore Malays. But what should set the pace for Malay unhappiness over MM Lee's adverse remarks is the inimical stand of the AMP with its caustic criticism. As the name suggests AMP is a body of Malay elites, the Malay professionals. Needless to say, they are the cream of the Malay community and their views and opinions on matters affecting the Malays are naturally viewed by the community as sublime. Therefore, the PAP government must regard the AMP with the respect that is accorded to an organisation of such high professional repute.
The AMP has all along been very accommodating politically with the PAP government and has never been known to be highly critical of the government until now on the subject of Malays being "distinct and separate", remarks blithely imposed on the Malays by a cavalier MM Lee. This is going to put the Malay minister and his equally docile fellow-MPs in a dilemma. These gallant Malay minister and MPs have never uttered a single dissenting word against MM Lee's remarks and they will find themselves totally untenable in defending their position.They are all well- heeled, maybe not as well-off as their Chinese counterparts, but to come out in support of the AMP attack will be suicidal. Because of the AMPs standing in the Malay community, it may be similarly suicidal for the Malay minister and MPs to castigate them.
This is one time MM Lee has opened his big mouth and made a big booboo. How he is going to resolve it is going to tax his deviousness and to see if he is really sincere in his humility, a rare trait if ever he has it.
There is an appropriate Chinese saying: He who ties the bell round the tiger's neck is the one to untie it (解铃还是系铃人）。