S’pore gags citizens’ criticism, says Dr M

Boo Su-Lyn
The Malaysia Insider

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said last night that Singaporeans were not allowed to cast their government in a bad light.

The former prime minister was responding to Singapore Berita Harian readers who were reportedly unhappy with him for claiming that Singaporean Malays were marginalised.

“They have freedom of speech in Singapore where you can say what you like, so long as it is approving of the government,” Dr Mahathir told reporters after launching the movement Viva Palestina Malaysia here today.

“(You have freedom) as long as you don’t say something that the government of Singapore does not like,” he added.

On Thursday, national news agency Bernama reported several Singapore Berita Harian readers as saying that Malays on the island-republic enjoyed progress without subsidies and were on equal treatment with other communities.

One reader, Sallim Ahmad, reportedly said it had become Mahathir’s theme that “the Singapore Malays are being marginalised until the end of world.”

He also said the position of Islam was protected although it was not the official religion in the republic where Malays are the minority.

Another reader called Kamariah Lim Li Hwa was quoted as saying: “We the Malays of Singapore feel at ease and are grateful that the Singapore rulers execute our trust with transparency.”

Today, Dr Mahathir said Singaporeans were welcome to make such remarks, but that they were required to “be nice in Singapore”.

On Friday, Malay rights group Perkasa voiced similar sentiments in their defence of the former PM.

“No Malays in Singapore dare to talk the truth about the treatment they received,” Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali told The Malaysian Insider.

He had also claimed that the comments by the Singapore Berita Harian readers did not represent the Malay community in Singapore in its entirety.

Dr Mahathir recently warned against dispersing Kampung Baru’s Malay residents in the same way Singapore had scattered the Malay community and diluted its voice.

He wrote in his blog that while Malaysia is being governed by a Malay majority government that cares for the fate of Malays, “let us not be so sure that there will never be a government where the voice of Malay representatives is removed.”

In June, Dr Mahathir told a rally of Malay NGOs that Malays in Malaysia risked becoming marginalised like their Singapore counterparts because of political divisions.

The former PM had said: “If we do not think deeply about the future of our community then there is a possibility that we can become [like] the Singaporean Malays and have no power.”



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