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In a Today report dated 29 September, it is reported that the nation’s founding fathers believed passionately in the vision of a multiracial society, and they also wanted to make sure that Singapore would not be viewed by its neighbours as a “Third China”.

At the People’s Association Kopitalk on Saturday (23 September), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated that it was the reason why the founding fathers — Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Goh Keng Swee, Mr S Rajaratnam, Mr Othman Wok — made multiracialism the fundamental principle on which Singapore was founded, and enshrined it in the Constitution

PM Lee said that his father who was Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, summed up what multi-racialism was all about when he said in 1965 — the year Singapore gained independence — that the Republic is “not a Malay nation, not a Chinese nation, not an Indian nation. Everybody will have a place in Singapore”.

PM Lee stressed that the message was meant not only to reassure the minorities, but also to remind the Chinese majority in Singapore never to oppress the non-Chinese, “because they themselves had felt squatted upon when Singapore was in Malaysia”.

He added that for the founding fathers, a multiracial society is one “where nobody would be favoured or disadvantaged because of the colour of his or her skin. Where everybody would have equal opportunities, feel kinship and brotherhood with people of different races and religions, and share the same Singapore nationality”.
However, he stated that Malaysia was different, saying, ”The Umno leaders in Kuala Lumpur — the central government — wanted one dominant race, i.e. Malay Malaysians, to enjoy special rights, while the Chinese, Indians and other citizens would forever be in a subordinate position. We fought that, and disagreed with them. Eventually, we separated from them because it could not be settled.”

PM Lee then said that in the 1960s, Singapore — a Chinese-majority country, in a Malay-majority part of Southeast Asia — was seen “as a Chinese country, a proxy, a stooge for communist China, and not an independent player”.

He then said that if Singapore had been identified as a Chinese country, it would have caused problems with the neighbours.

“We would not have been able to live peacefully in South-east Asia. So, we had to make quite sure that people understood that we were an independent, multiracial country,” he stressed.

Many netizens stated that all the PM is saying is to justify the actions of the People’s Action Party government.

Philip Lim wrote, “Do not insult the founding fathers. The fact is you are nowhere even near them. They united the nation with their multi-racial equality policies. But you only divided the nation with your selfish racist act.”

More at http://www.tremeritus.com/2017/10/09/netizens-comment-on-pm-lee%E2%80%99s-statement-that-founding-fathers-were-%E2%80%98passionate-about-multiracialism%E2%80%99/