A view from Malaysia
Zhen Zhi Quan
Wed, Oct 24, 2007
The Straits Times
DESPITE (Singapore's Minister Mentor) Lee Kuan Yew's remarks, (Malaysia's) Barisan Nasional continues to be conceited, but Mr Lee's comments give hope to the common people who are not leading good lives.

Mr Lee's 'merger theory' went round the globe before returning to Malaysia. Mr Lee had said: 'If they (Malaysia) would just educate the Chinese and Indians, use them and treat them as their citizens, they can equal us and even do better than us and we would be happy to rejoin them.'

Some Malaysian leaders expressed admiration for Mr Lee's heroic spirit while others ignored him.

As for the ordinary people, China Press' website drew more than 200,000 hits, all expressing hope that Malaysia and Singapore would become one family. Many of them believe that Singapore is able to resolve problems and that the future generations of the two countries will lead good lives.

Singapore boleh, Malaysia boleh too?

Many of the roads in Singapore's business district are one-way streets to ease traffic congestion. We can do the same, but can we get rid of the potholes, litter and bird droppings?

Singapore is likened to an 'air-conditioned country'. Air-conditioners cannot change the climate but they regulate the temperature for a comfortable lifestyle. Regulation and comfort are the two pillars of the Singapore model. The problem is, will people who spend their lives in air-conditioning and hardly come into contact with the sun or nature be healthy?

Malaysia ranks 124th out of 169 countries on the Press Freedom Index while Singapore lags behind at No.141.

Singapore has its own underlying worries. The Republic is different from Malaysia. Forcing them to come together will spell disaster.

Singapore has reached the peak, so it can speak with ease, while Malaysia has a long way to go. Just as you cannot force the clumsy elephant to dance like the nimble mouse, it is unfair to make demands on the Malaysian government which is shouting 'Malaysia Boleh' with all its might every day and has managed to beat others in sending its first astronaut to space.

A saying in Western politics states: Elections are a system to achieve rational results through an irrational process.

Singapore under Mr Lee has emerged from the pioneering period of irrational struggles. Who else but Mr Lee will understand the irrationalities that Malaysia faces today?

No matter how progressive Singapore is, its democracy is still at the foetal stage. Malaysia begs to differ in its pursuit of democracy.

Nevertheless, it is very effective to use the 'merger theory' to frighten Singaporeans who are trapped in air-conditioned living but are feeling unhappy.

This article is translated from the Mandarin-language original which appeared in Malaysia's China Press on Oct 19.

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