The Rhetoric

“If you are Singaporean, you should stay on and fight and argue your case and persuade more people to believe you and one day change the policy, not opt out and leave because no policy is set in stone forever.”
– DPM Lee Hsien Loong praising J.B. Jeyaratnam as an example of a “stayer”, Straits Times, Oct 3 2002.

The Reality

“Look, Jeyaretnam can’t win the infighting. I’ll tell you why. WE are in charge. Every government ministry and department is under our control…I will make him crawl on his bended knees, and beg for mercy.”
– Lee Kuan Yew on JB Jeyaratnam, 1981, as related by ex-President Devan Nair in this


During a 1986 inquiry into whether he had violated the Parliamentary Privilege Act by questioning the integrity of judges, Jeyaretnam asked Lee, “So you think I have to be destroyed?” Lee replied, “Politically, yes.”

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