Tan Sri is a very much respected lawyer, diplomat and also in the field of arbitration which I am specializing in. Her views and opinions always carry a significant weight. So when I came to know that her memoir, titled Kaleidoscope – The memoirs of P.G. Lim is available, I am one of the first few who obtained a copy.
As I have this habit of finishing a book before starting a new one, I’ve only started to read her memoir on Wednesday and finished reading it couple of days ago. To my disappointment, the book not really a full memoir but it is more of a republishing of what the public already knew. However, what she wrote at the end of chapter 12, The Election of 1964, pages 206 and 207 catches my attention.
In the last paragraph of that chapter, she wrote that Lee Kuan Yew spoiled the chances of UMNO creating two posts of Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia for someone from the Chinese and Indian communities and that the choice of a Chinese Deputy Prime Minister could go to Lee Kuan Yew. In this way each community would in turn have the chances, one day, becoming the Prime Minister of Malaysia. She also added that such was the breadth of vision and openness current among Malay leadership at that time. Finally, she asked whether Lee Kuan Yew could have profited from this initial goodwill had he played his cards other in the way he did.
Tan Sri is wrong about this. There is no way; even at that time that the leadership of UMNO would allow someone that is not Malay to be the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Judging from history and their personalities, even if Tunku would like to have the post of Deputy Prime Minister for non-Malay, would Tun Razak and UMNO leaderships like Tun Dr Ismail, Syed Ja’afar Albar and even Dr Mahathir agreed to it ? Or if they ever thinking of creating one, the post will go to Tun Tan Siew Sin rather than Lee Kuan Yew. Tan Sri, it is much of a wishful thinking for Chinese or Indians to be Prime Minister of Malaysia even though it is allowed in the constitution.
Lee Kuan Yew is a very smart chap. Never undermine the ability of Lee Kuan Yew. He had played his cards well. He achieved what he wanted and looking back, he is the one having the last laugh today, and laughed the loudest.
Unless UMNO and the Malays are really prepared for non-Malay to be Prime Minister of Malaysia, such a thing would not happen, maybe never even in my lifetime. Perhaps a mini step would be, in the spirit of 1 Malaysia, we create a second post of Deputy Prime Minister for non-Malay. For BN and also for PR, they all should emulate Penang when it comes to having two Deputy Chief Minister’s posts so that all three major races are well represented or the state of Sabah with three Deputy Chief Minister’s posts for other races, including one for the Kadazan.
I would hope to see that manifesto of BN and PR in the next election will state that we will have the post of Deputy Prime Minister for non-Malays and also Deputy Chief Minister posts for other races in all states in Malaysia, not only Penang and Sabah.