By: Our Correspondent


“This ‘Singapore Model’ is made possible only because of the particularity of Singapore: a strategically placed island city state, with unique geographical attributes such as a natural port, blessed with a diligent and industrious population, surrounded by resource-rich countries. It is not a model which can be easily replicated elsewhere, nor should it be.

“Another undoubted accomplishment of the man was his ability to propagate the myth that he alone was the founding father of Singapore. That myth may soon unravel with his passing.  For someone who would rather be feared than loved, his dear family members and minions who now mourn his passing should not take exception if his death is celebrated as a great historic event which will eventually set the people free.

“The death of Lee Kuan Yew will certainly unlock the inhibitions and liberate the people from fear. Fear of political persecution crippled the citizens and residents in Singapore like no other country in the developed world to the extent that even the very rich, the very clever, and those in high political office shy away from expressing dissent.  With his death, the truth about the man will emerge. Luckily the deceased can no longer wield the stick of libel law to gag his critics, as he was so quick to do in life. Those in his ruling People’s Action Party who enjoyed his patronage during the past fifty years may soon also have to mourn the eventual passing of the cozy politics of one-party dominance.  Political life will no longer be as tranquil for this political class as it was before.”

“Lee Kuan Yew’s tremendous role in Singapore’s economic development is beyond doubt,” said Bangkok-based Human Rights Watch Asia representative Phil Robertson. “But it also came at a significant cost for human rights – and today’s restricted freedom of expression, self-censorship and stunted multi-party democracy is also a part of his legacy that Singapore now needs to overcome. Singapore still is, for all intents and purposes, a one-party state where political opponents are targeted and contrary views muzzled – and that too is a part of Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy that many of the new generation of Singaporeans are none too happy about.  They’re asking when in the ruling PAP model does economic development reach a level that political liberalization can occur – and now that Lee Kuan Yew has passed from the scene, perhaps that long overdue conversation can finally proceed.”