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Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew dismissed criticism from human rights organizations over Singapore’s style of government and said they were trying to “do us in.”In response to the groups’ assertions that the city-state is not a liberal democracy, the founding father and former prime minister said Friday night that they have never run a country and do not know what is needed.
“There is a conspiracy to do us in,” Lee told the Economic Society of Singapore. “Why? … They see us as a threat.”
The groups have seen that Russians and Chinese have been coming and studying Singapore’s success story, Lee said. The leaders of these countries ask, “How does this little country with so little talent keep its ruling party in place and run a tight ship, honest, and effective, and make progress?”
They are “picking up points here and there,” Lee said.
Groups which advocate the need for a Western-style liberal democracy were prescribing universal rules for the world, Lee said.
“We are not stupid people,” Lee said. “Who are they? Have they ever run a country, created jobs for community and given them a life? We have and we know what it requires.”
Lee said he believes each country will have to decide which political system suits it best.
The latest accusations that Singapore fails to meet international standards for political and human rights came from the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute.
The institute’s report on July 10 noted Singapore’s impressive economic development, but said the city-state “cannot continue to claim that civil and political rights must take a back seat to economic rights.”
The bar association represents 30,000 lawyers worldwide. The institute’s report also expressed concern about “limitations on free assembly.”