(Petaling Jaya, Saturday):
Singapore’s Senior Minister, Lee Kuan Yew should make a fulsome and unqualified retraction of his derogatory affidavit about Johore being “notorious for shootings, muggings and car-jackings” to end a sorry chapter in Malaysia-Singapore relations.
Although a statement by Lee’s press secretary on Thursday said “The Senior Minister had no intention to cause offence and apologises unreservedly for the offence he has caused to the Government and people of Malaysia by his statement on Johore in his affidavit”, the apology had been placed in a context which made it far from “unreserved” or fulsome and therefore unsatisfactory.
The explanations that the affidavit was not meant to be made public and that it was based on Lee’s perception of Johore from press reports rubbed “salt” into the wounds opened by Lee’s uncalled-for and unwarranted statement. They cannot even be mitigating factors at all, and Lee would have been the first to reject them as acceptable explanations if the tables had been turned.
While waiting for Lee to make an unqualified retraction of his derogatory reference to Johore, let Malaysians show that there is something for Singapore to learn from Malaysia - that we value human dignity with a premium for magnanimity rather than vindictiveness or vengefulness as well as international good neighbourliness.