The Paper General and two Asian Strongmen

During the 80s and 90s, the relationship between Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad and Mr Anwar Ibrahim was described as having a “father-and-son-like closeness”. Some were surprised that a supposed dictator like Mahathir would allow Anwar to manage three different portfolios in a short span of four years, and was even content for Anwar to replace his loyal Lieutenant Abdul Ghafar as Deputy Prime Minister.

Now that political change has landed in Malaysia, the 4G leaders will have to deal with the duo’s leadership. Although the transition is still clouded in some uncertainty, Mahathir has represented to Japanese newspaper Mainichi that he could last “for at most two years before” handing power over to Anwar. Such a transition could take place earlier now that Anwar has received a Royal Pardon.

While relations between Singapore and its Northern neighbour have been generally peaceful, they have not been the smoothest sailing either particularly with Mahathir at the helm. From threats to cut off Singapore’s water supply to an appeal against the 2008 Pedra Branca decision, it would require both tremendous political will and skill to deal with the friction that exists between the 2 countries.

The South China Morning Post said that “[Lee Kuan Yew and Mahathir] rarely saw eye to eye”. This was affirmed by Mahathir himself when he made an obituary to Lee in 2015, saying that “on most other issues we could not agree”. Some of these issues were described by distinguished Professor Amitav Acharya in his book Constructing a Security Community in Southeast Asia:

“.. over relocation of their customs and immigration facilities, and the right of Malaysian workers in Singapore to withdraw their CPF before turning 55 years…  spilled over to their defence relationship, with Malaysia pulling out of a joint exercise scheduled… and rescinded a long-standing agreement that allowed Singaporean military and rescue planes to fly though its air space without prior authorisation”

Now that Mahathir is back, working out some of these issues could prove tricky for Lee’s government. Earlier in January, Najib Razak said that the outcome of the Malaysian general election would not change the nature of relations between the two countries.  Lee then joked in response that it was because Najib had ”confidence in the results”, which then saw the two leaders laughing.

Lee Kuan Yew has been described by one of Singapore’s top lawyers as a “genius who.. could see trends and dangers” while the Jakarta Post had described both men as being “equally Machiavellian in their methods”. Nonetheless, the current Prime Minister has shown that his experience and success in dealing with international affairs is less than that of his father.

While Lee Hsien Loong had betted on a Clinton win in last year’s US elections, Trump won instead and this was met with a congratulation note considered distasteful by many. Trump eventually rescinded the TPP trade accord that the Lee administration was relying heavily on to boost trade.

In addition, Lee had incurred the wrath of China by asking them to respect international laws in a territorial dispute with the Philippines at a White House dinner. This prompted Beijing to ask that Singapore respect its position on the South China Sea, while Duterte has instead warmed up to China in view of the foreign investments that the latter is able to provide.

What is of concern is whether Singapore’s next Prime Minister can at least be on par with PM Lee on international affairs.

South China Morning Post article said that an area where the contenders require more experience is in the area of foreign policy. This was echoed by former TODAY editor P N Balaji who said that all the contenders have “yet to show whether they possess the statecraft to helm the city state – which prides itself for being friends with all major powers.”

Given the changes in the political dynamics between Singapore and Malaysia, how well do you think the 4G leadership will manage to maintain Singapore’s lead over its northern neighbour?

 

Thomas Loh

 

 

 

 

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32 Responses to “The Paper General and two Asian Strongmen”

  • CCS:

    Don’t underestimate CCS – this guy looks funny but he is brilliant academically as well as thinking “out of the box” – remember, he topped his class at Westpoint and received special commendation from the Commander for his brilliant strategy.

    Not only brain, this guy has guts to tell the Indonesian off when they named a warship after terrorists who bombed SIN.

    For all we know, CCS may lead SIN to greater heights!

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  • Can you handle it?:

    Perhaps, Dr M to Kee Chiu: “Boy, Uncle eats more salt than you eat rice. Ok, go and find something to do!”

    What do you think?

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  • LKY:

    Have you ever wondered – what if reincarnation is true?

    Imagine – someone who killed you reincarnated as your slave?

    Someone who abused the maid reincarnated as the maid in the next life, and the maid now became the master?

    Do you believe in karma? Do you believe in “what you reap will be what you sow”?

    Imagine a Japanese reincarnated as a Chinese; a Caucasian reincarnated as a Black; do you still want to bully people and waste your time on idle pursuit?

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  • not easy for SIN:

    The world today is unpredictable – black swans crop up suddenly. For Singapore to continue to exist in this unpredictable world, we have to anticipate the future and what the future holds.

    It can be scary and we need strong and steady hands to lead this bunch of daft sinkies to safety and prosperity. Sinkies who are oblivious to the dangers surrounding them but content just to wake up with a car to wash and wax, got Korean soap operas to watch …

    sad …

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  • LIONS:

    I think CC$ tak jadi liao since he is not from Oppo.
    Dr M n Anwar will warm up to maybe Dr Chee.
    Or,maybe Dr Tan Cheng Bok or Tharman if he join Oppo?

    DrM is not kawan with Lee Ah Long’s old man.
    And,since lee ah long is CC$’ *ah ku*(uncle),both DrM n Anwar will not like him

    So,c0nclusion,for better relationship with our closest,better vote Oppo for govt.
    Also,PAP3G has offended China n China is leading nation of Asia.

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  • Bystander:

    If Chan Chun Sing is PM, upon meeting face to face with Mahathir, he would quiver and become tongue tied. Meanwhile the elder statesman would look on and sneer at greenhorned and inept boy soldier, maybe Chan has to run to GCT ex PM for help.

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  • Lo Jho Lee:

    It looks like a immature boy.

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  • Mismatch for sure:

    The recent regime change in Malaysia proves Mahatir is a “better” politician than LKY. He came back using an opposition party. It was (always) much easier for LKY because his PAP party was always in (total) control.

    LHL is no match for Mahatir (or even Anwar). CCS is even worse. Both are only “good” at home.

    Mahatir (and Anwar) can “trigger” regime change in Singapore. PAP knows this. So does Mahatir and Aawar. Why? Because LHL (and CCS) is no LKY and LKY is now ashes. He is never coming back.

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  • N.Jungne:

    Nampak ini budak tahi, cakap sajah Otak Udang.

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  • Haigen-diaz:

    The present PAP’s Cabinet is an extension of the Apprentice reality show. Anyone dumb enough to enter voluntarily into the poisonous realm deserves everything he/she gets. The 4Gs gang especially CS Chan deserves a lot of humiliation and sooner he goes the better. Anyone with an ounce of self-respect would do so immediately. Also like to make an exception for OYK, who seems to be a nasty, small-minded jerk, a pseudo-wannabe who can’t hold a candle even for LKY’s butt whiskers. Men without honor. Yes, they have, so to speak, sold their souls. Value given for value received. Things will not go as well as you had hoped. This Govt. have little pride and no mettle, and cannot even defend themselves, much less Mahathir or Anwar. Before rushing to judgement in the condemnation of PM Lee and his 4Gs appointees which is undoubtedly well-deserved — one must also take umbrage with the majority of stupid Singaporeans who for whatever reasons, continue to believe and slavishly support them. . . This is like watching a slow-motion train wreck on a continuous loop.

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  • China good at foreign policy ?:

    What ?

    They cant even make HK and taiwan happy ( dont even want to bring in xinjiang tibet or mongolia ) except with threats and lies.

    They cant even contain their kind from damaging other countries tourist attractions . Constant news of anyhow shit any places as they like. Latest sg news 2 female prcs tenants wallop landlord’s elderly mother in front of her grandkid. So much so for Confucius teachings. Knowing , practicing and pretending are 3 different things.

    They cant even control and contain NK. And the 1mdb debacle was exposed by Ang Mos. China instead go to help Najib . Still trying to paint China as a lifeline ?

    They called us bananas , ang mos tua kees or jap dogs or plps or whatever. They reprimand others e.g. this news .

    男子主持台版“靖国神社”祭典 绿媒夸:帅气逼人
    https://news.sina.cn/gn/2018-05-07/detail-ihacuuvu3526331.d.html?vt=4&pos=8&cid=56261

    ———–

    But China themselves ma si ang mo tua kee. 50 steps telling 100 steps. Na bay.

    蔡慎坤:俄罗斯胜利日中国人凑什么热闹?
    https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/CWU6qC6KsYjkV8SPLuVdpg

    Only know how to brain wash their kind and stir their emotions unnecessary. How fake.

    This type of far hi’s we dont need.

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  • SheePAPore:

    Between the 2 strongmen, the centre one definitely looks like a Gongkia.

    If you’ve seen the Gongkia making his Parliament speech where he kept having to look at his script, those die-hard pap supporters had better get ready to jump ship or ‘run road’. The white party will mostly likely fold up if he is indeed going to take over from lhl. Though I think Ong YK isn’t a good PM choice either, at least he can speak much better and more steadily than Gongkia.

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  • Dr M is no pushover:

    Unequally matched …totally. its like…
    LHL n his yesmen going in for a game of chess with a grand master & grand master’s pupil.
    Mahathir may have soften a little but dont under estimate him…Dr M has a mind of his own!
    He’s no pushover like Najib.

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  • Kick them out:

    We shd kick them out at the next poll so that a new group could lead us to have a better friendship with Malaysia……..not kee chiu, not Pinky, not Goh Kayu!

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  • rukidding:

    I am “cock sure” that Mai Hum will still choose Kee Chui to take over !

    I hope this will happen…..as this will certainly “help, hasten the death of this party” !

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  • Bapak:

    Look at the three photos, who would you kick out? Mahathir & Anwar look alone scare the shit out of the boy. Singaporeans, do not send a boy to talk to the men. He will pee on his pants. Don’t be so cruel to the boy. Don’t put Singapore to shame. Mahathir & Anwar would probably laugh non-stop until rolling on the floor.

    Vote wisely.

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  • Sperm Whale:

    I look at the three photos .
    One of them is PARACHUTED.
    The rest are SELF-made lengends.

    Even LTK is a self-made man.

    Some cannot survive on their own two feet , relying on the crutch of extreme unfair advantage. It’s akin to raping a elderly disabled woman.

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  • Depends:

    If he can bring good changes to the country, still not too bad. But if he is there to be just a repertoire of same old policies and systems then I must say this time our Msia brothers have outshone us in bringing about changes to people like GST removal, foreign policies etc.

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  • Pray hard:

    CCS looks stupid.He may have better paper qualifications but he looks like an idiot.First impressions are important.If he really is LHL’s successor then God help us all.

    Not a fan of Keroppi lookalike,CCS.

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  • Bad Boy:

    Those who wants to migrate can consider China.

    https://m.wallstreetcn.com/articles/3312862

    天津加入“抢人大战”!本科不超40周岁可直接落户.

    Hurry hurry. No problemo, you will not be miss

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  • C'est la vie:

    *****
    The paper general might as well be a paper boy.

    What difference does it make.

    If your face and blood line fits …… you are it.

    Only in SG though, where useless numpties can rise to CEO’s, President, MP’s and now …… PM too !!!
    ***
    *****

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  • Nuffing left ter say:

    Never send a boy to do a man’s job!

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  • LOL:

    That pic above looks amusing.
    The frowns on both anwar and dr m’s faces look as if theyre both looking at boy boy n thinking ” Say what?”!

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  • Python 5:

    Nuffing left ter say:
    Never send a boy to do a man’s job!

    never send a buck-tooth monkey to do any type of job!!!!

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  • Python 5:

    Kick them out:
    We shd kick them out at the next poll so that a new group could lead us to have a better friendship with Malaysia……..not kee chiu, not Pinky, not Goh Kayu!

    You overrun AMK to remove cancer boy.
    and you overrun Tanjong Pager to remove buck-tooth monkey.
    then you have eliminated both present and future PM.

    the remaining DPMs will become headless chickens.

    remember, target the leaders and key appointment holders.

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  • Shut up IB!:

    Bad Boy:
    Those who wants to migrate can consider China.

    https://m.wallstreetcn.com/articles/3312862

    天津加入“抢人大战”!本科不超40周岁可直接落户.

    Hurry hurry. No problemo, you will not be miss

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  • Who Created The Huge Mess?:

    CCS:
    Don’t underestimate CCS – this guy looks funny but he is brilliant academically as well as thinking “out of the box” – remember, he topped his class at Westpoint and received special commendation from the Commander for his brilliant strategy.

    Not only brain, this guy has guts to tell the Indonesian off when they named a warship after terrorists who bombed SIN.

    For all we know, CCS may lead SIN to greater heights!

    You can’t lead a country to greater heights by sinking it first.
    Histories have many examples of great talkers and great doers.
    Talking great cork is easy, winning such accolades also easy because nothing is at stake.
    Life experience counts and the country cannot afford to have any leaders in perpetual experimental stage and on job trainings.

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  • Money Above Lives:

    Mismatch for sure:
    The recent regime change in Malaysia proves Mahatir is a “better” politician than LKY. He came back using an opposition party. It was (always) much easier for LKY because his PAP party was always in (total) control.

    LHL is no match for Mahatir (or even Anwar). CCS is even worse. Both are only “good” at home.

    Mahatir (and Anwar) can “trigger” regime change in Singapore. PAP knows this. So does Mahatir and Aawar. Why? Because LHL (and CCS) is no LKY and LKY is now ashes. He is never coming back.

    There is no comparison. One is for the country, the other for the money.
    One can work with and embrace former adversaries, the other is vindictive and professed to make them kneel and beg.

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  • China good at foreign policy ?:

    https://m.wallstreetcn.com/articles/3312716

    柳传志杨元庆发联名信:誓死打赢这场联想荣誉保卫战!

    卖国 ???

    China , the people majority really thumbs down.

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  • Looks got nothing to do with i:

    Look at Bill gates

    Look at warren buffet

    Look at jack ma

    Look at mark z facebook

    Look at google founders

    Look at apple founders

    Look at ong teng fong

    Look at lee kah shing

    Look at lee son , super junior lee.

    Where got looks ….

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  • If a LKY in WP:

    When will Malaysia take back Singapore ? Eg. Reunification.

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  • If a LKY in WP:

    CCS:
    Don’t underestimate CCS – this guy looks funny but he is brilliant academically as well as thinking “out of the box” – remember, he topped his class at Westpoint and received special commendation from the Commander for his brilliant strategy.

    Not only brain, this guy has guts to tell the Indonesian off when they named a warship after terrorists who bombed SIN.

    For all we know, CCS may lead SIN to greater heights!

    Oh yeah? You wanna talk about Academic results? Yes, he went to ivy league before. But do you know academic result is not real world performance?
    This is proven by Singapore students.

    Singapore students top in the world in maths and science.
    Zero Nobel laureate in science and maths.

    Zero Google. Zero top inventions.

    So, you still wanna use academic result to compare with real world performance?

    If academic is real world, then no need so Kia su gerrymandering and helicopter insert lot!

    GD Star Rating
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