Monday, 28 May 2018

Goh Chok Tong & Tan Cheng Bock ‘do a Mahathir’?

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s latest Facebook post has caused Singaporeans to express their desire to see the former head of government stand against the ruling party in the next election, the same way Malaysian leader Dr Mahathir left his party to unite the opposition across the causeway and topple the government.

This, after ESM Goh posted photos from his 77th birthday bash. Sharing a photo with veteran politician Dr Tan Cheng Bock who attended his exclusive party, Goh alluded to Mahathir’s stunning election victory and said: “Age is just a number, as Mahathir has proven. But it is family and friends who make that number light, meaningful and memorable. Thanks, all my friends out there.”

92-year-old Dr Mahathir Mohamad made history by defeating the incumbent at the polls and ushering in Malaysia’s first transition of power since independence, at the watershed 2018 Malaysian General Election.

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MParader added 6 new photos — with Swee Liong Andy 19 May at 20:29

Age is just a number, as Mahathir has proven. But it is family and friends who make that number light, meaningful and memorable. Thanks, all my friends out there. --- gct

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Singaporeans clamor for Goh Chok Tong and Tan Cheng Bock to join forces and ‘do a Mahathir’

Netizens are now calling on the two politicians to put aside their differences and come together for the good of the nation, like Mahathir did with opposition coalition partners across the causeway.

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Will Dr Tan Cheng Bock play the role of Dr Mahathir in Singapore politics?

Notwithstanding the public anger over rising costs and the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, there is no doubt that the presence of Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad in the opposition coalition helped to sway votes towards Pakatan Harapan (PH) on 9 May 2018.

In other words, had Dr Mahathir continued to support the then-Prime Minister Najib Razak (as he did at the 2013 polls) or even if he had campaigned as an opposition but not as a member of PH - like what Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) did, it would not have been possible for a new government to replace the 61-year-old ruling coalition of Barisan Nasional (BN).

The pro-establishment fans in Singapore would disagree but the reality is such that the ordinary man-in-the-street in Jurong shares the same frustration as his Malaysian friend from Johor. Whether one is in Kallang or in Kedah, he or she is today likely to be upset over rising costs as well as moves (such as GST introduction or hikes) which would only burden them further.

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Is Dr Tan Cheng Bock hinting at a political comeback with his latest Facebook post?

Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s latest Facebook post has prompted yet another round of calls for him to ‘do a Mahathir’ and lead the opposition to victory at the next General Election.

Yesterday, Dr Tan posted a photo of himself seated at a busy food centre. Titling the post “LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE,” Dr Tan wrote: “Last weekend l was at Blk 726 West Coast Market and Food Centre. I was having breakfast with friends and sharing our views on current issues. There, I also enjoyed meeting and speaking to the many other people who were there at the Centre . Some of them were surprised to see me. The food centre was packed and doing well.”

The title of Dr Tan’s latest social media post is notable and many appear to have drawn links between Dr Tan’s post and what Malaysia’s Dr Mahathir Mohamad did during the watershed 2018 Malaysian General Election – Dr Mahathir listened to the people and led the opposition coalition against his former party to victory.

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Dr Tan Cheng Bock 14 hrs

Last weekend l was at Blk 726 West Coast Market and Food Centre. I was having breakfast with friends and sharing our views on current issues. There, I also enjoyed meeting and speaking to the many other people who were there at the Centre . Some of them were surprised to see me. The food centre was packed and doing well.

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Singaporeans wish Tan Cheng Bock will follow Mahathir’s lead and contest the next GE as an opposition candidate

92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad made history last night by defeating the incumbent at the polls and ushering in Malaysia’s first transition of power since independence, at the watershed 2018 Malaysian General Election.

Mahathir, who helped establish the ruling Barisan National (BN) coalition in power and served as Malaysia’s longest-serving Prime Minister, stepped out of retirement and left the ruling party to lead the opposition. Breaking the BN’s six-decade long monopoly, Mahathir beat his one-time protégé Najib Razak and is set to become the world’s oldest head of government when he is sworn in.

Mahathir’s stunning election upset has prompted many Singaporeans to express their desire to see veteran politician Dr Tan Cheng Bock contest the next General Election in Singapore as an opposition candidate.

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Dr Tan’s latest post has renewed calls for him to unite the opposition to take on the ruling party at the next Election

Interestingly, these calls come even as some Singaporeans urge Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong to also ‘do a Mahathir’ and perhaps even join forces with his close friend, Dr Tan, to achieve success against the ruling party at the next Election

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Facebook exchange between PM Lee and ESM Goh cause netizens to believe internal conflict is brewing

An online exchange between Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong and his predecessor, current Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh has been making waves online, leading netizens to speculate that an internal conflict has been brewing between the two.

The exchange between the top politicians began on New Year’s Eve when ESM Goh urged the younger minister to select the next Prime Minister ideally within 6-9 months time, calling this an “urgent challenge” for the nation.

Two weeks ago, the Prime Minister commented on ESM Goh’s remarks on 26 Jan and said that leadership succession will “take a little bit longer” than what ESM Goh had hoped. He added, in what appeared to be a pointed comment, that “ESM (Goh) is speaking with the privilege of watching things rather than being responsible to make it happen. I think we know it’s a very serious matter.”

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A viral message against LHL

1. Next time when you partying with your new friends, don’t forget your old friends outside the gates. When you were eating Durians with Najib and Rosmah you did not even pay a visit to the old man Mahathir to say hello? Well I guess I was a pariah and you did not want to be associated with me. I understand. But good and insightful politicians never assume fallen leaders people can’t make a comeback.

So don’t just visit me or Anwar, make time for Najib later after all he is still your Friend is he not and who says he can’t make a comeback? Look at what I have done at 92. Najib still has some years to go.

2. There is no need to wear a batik shirt and smile all the time when you come to congratulate me. We are both PMs and are equal in status. If you are filled with humility and respect it will show in other ways so no need to put it on show.

I did not care much for your father and disagreed with his policies but I respected him for his firm resolve and standing up to other countries when it mattered. He was a true leader and had balls.

3. Be wise in placing your bets and if you lose it is Ok but never do a Tony Fernandez. When your horse doesn’t come in don’t go around telling people it was a mistake or you were forced to make the bet. People will lose respect for you. Don’t forget the same horse may win the next race. I am a good example.

4. Choose your cabinet ministers wisely. Scholars and Generals may be fine in intellect but are they leaders with courage and conviction who care enough for the Rakyat? Look at my team. Many have been imprisoned, persecuted and ostracised by BN and their henchmen but they stayed and fought for the Rakyat.

Guan Eng has done wonders for Penang. He was jailed twice but he had steel in him. He did not migrate but stayed on to fight because he believed in Malaysia. Now that’s what I call true leaders of the people not those who have high IQs and come out with fantastic income generating policies that contribute to GDP and GNP but with no real benefit for the Rakyat.

5. Choose men and women with backbones. Don’t choose people who always say yes to you. Look at Khairy, BN’s former Youth Minister. He is an Oxford grad and highly intelligent. But what did he do when BN was thrown out? He said “Oh we should have spoken out and it was a mistake not to tell Najib that his policies were wrong, etc.” What bullshit!

He had no guts to say no to Najib because he was a Yes man and enjoying all the perks of a Minister. You know what happens when you have Yes men in your cabinet? They think only of themselves. Like Judas they will disown you when the chips are down because now they hope they will be absolved of their past crimes.

6. Always remember to govern your country with a paramount emphasis on the rule of law. I admit I did not do so in the past when I was PM and that was a bad mistake. When you politicise the police, the attorney general, the civil service, heads of statutory boards, etc, they take the liberty of enforcing your rule with strong-armed and undemocratic tactics and practices.

That is not only wrong but harms your integrity, your people’s integrity and the reputation of your country. The world distrusted us because of it. I realised this when I was in the wilderness and part of the Rakyat.

7. Don’t get your wife too involved in the affairs of the state. Look at Rosmah. She did not hold any official appointment but she did give orders to many government officials and they obeyed because she was the PM’s wife. Plus Najib was under her spell.

Your Father was wise, your Mother played a very supportive role. I do the same with Siti Hasmah. She like your Mother are highly educated women but they stay in the background and are detached from any form of role that has a say in government, state investment or what to do with the state’s coffers.

You must remember the Rakyat  will always talk and such talk can also contribute to a tsunami which happened in our case.

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Is Mahathir a changed man?

As Singapore continues to digest the implications of the election result and as the flurry of revelations continues to pop out of Putrajaya, it is the name of Mahathir that keeps coming up again and again. Of immediate concern is how he will deal with the RM50 billion High Speed Rail contract that Najib signed with Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong in 2016. Mahathir has been talking publicly about mega projects like this. His latest comment – that the project might be ditched – was the clearest indication so far of its likely fate.

How Singapore deals with a resurgent Mahathir will be its biggest international challenge and a good test for the 4G leadership. PM Lee had a symbolic 30-minute meeting with the Malaysian leader on 19 May. Beneath the warm congratulatory messages, the anxiety was evident. Lee’s uncomfortable body language as he walked in to meet Mahathir, his late father’s old adversary, was palpable.

There are signs that Mahathir is a changed man. But he may just go back to his old ways if he sees in Singapore a difficult partner in the expected talks on the rail contract. That is not something Malaysians and Singaporeans want to even think about.

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The protege toppled by his mentor

Dear Prime Minister Mahathir, It has been a while since I have seen you personally. It seems you have been well, especially since last week when your upstart coalition won control in Malaysia's first surprising election.

During my two years at Bloomberg's office in Kuala Lumpur, from 1996 to 1998, I regularly attended press conferences you held as prime minister. You once chided me for seeking too many details in your answers. That annoyed me, because when one was based in KL -- as opposed to stopping by to write a quick dispatch, as most Western journalists did -- nuances and details mattered greatly. I'll give you this: You were very available and ready with an answer to almost any question. You didn't hide behind mystique, like Suharto in Indonesia. Look what happened to him!

The time I spent in Malaysia was formative. I have an enormous reservoir of fondness for the country and its rich culture and, yes, awe at its political brutality. As one who watched what went wrong 20 years ago (remember when you jailed your finance minister?), let me offer some advice as your team settles in.

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Dawn of a new era, in our own backyard!
Photo of the press conference by Dr Mahathir in the morning of Thursday, announcing that Pakatan Harapan has over the simple majority seats to form government (Photo: Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini)

As I awoke to news that a change of government has occurred in my neighbor, I'm sure the process has been equally as nail-biting for our Lee Hsien Loong who has to grapple with losing his Bestie!

The result is not only surprising but just as baffling for the People's Action Party government has often accused Malaysia of being racist leading to our succession but I see the opposite happening here instead. M'sians have by and large, casted aside racial differences to oust a government which they deem is the cause of their division, lack of respect for the rule of law and rampant abuses of power in the State Organs.

What's left to be seen now is, how the days and months ahead will play out for Najib (and Rosmah) who by now, should have been deserted by their cronies. Will Anwar (or Mahathir) release to the public, any corrupt deals that were done between LHL, Najib or any of the Royal Families from GE 2008 up to now? Will existing agreements inked by S'pore, M'sia and China still be honored provided no corruption took place? Will there be a reopening of the "Altantuya Shaariibuu" case and other such cases where further investigations were hindered by the BN is best left to speculation.

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Old Mahathir could be frosty with Singapore: New Mahathir?
GST hike: Damned if they do
In perverse fashion, the Malaysians might have done the PAP a favour
Goh Chok Tong & Tan Cheng Bock ‘do a Mahathir’?
A Political Elite Class in Singapore?
The Chan Chun Sing Puzzles
Dawn of a new era, in our own backyard!
The protege toppled by his mentor
3 veteran ministers step down for 4G leaders
Singapore 2018 Cabinet Reshuffle
ESM Goh wants 4th-Gen PM to be picked this year
Next Prime Minister “likely” to be already in the cabinet
Fourth generation of political leadership
Fourth generation political leadership taking shape
ESM Goh Chok Tong in the limelight
GE2015: Nomads, Roosters & "Bits Of Meat"
Singapore “Swiss” Standard of Living
S'pore companies urged to invest in Shandong
Singapore to become hub for Indian diaspora
No excuse for “bitter” Tan Cheng Bock to engage in “elaborate charades”
Silent sit-in protest against PE2017
Elected President: CC vs AGC
High Court dismissed Tan Cheng Bock's challenge on Elected Presidency
PM Lee in Focus
PM Lee the Latest “Victim” of Donald Trump Handshake
The politics of power dressing: Ho Ching
PM Lee Hsien Loong at G20 Leaders' Summit in Hamburg
Singapore must ‘steal other people’s lunches’
Singapore PM draws laughs in US speech
PM Lee on BBC's HARDTalk
A Post-LKY Singapore?
Lee & Lee - The job has changed
Order of Succession And Baton Passing
PM Lee In The Limelight
Former PM Lee Kuan Yew in the limelight