When asked point-blank about the freedom of speech in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong became totally lost and stammered that Singapore has one of the fastest internet in the world in response.
BBC reporter for programme HardTalk, Stephen Sackur, told the Singapore dictator that a British leader raised concerns that freedom of speech must be considered during bilateral trade talks, and asked him how does the Singapore Prime Minister respond to that.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shot a quick-liner “I don’t think you are restrained in asking me any question”, and paused for a few long seconds and did not know how to respond. The BBC reporter helped him by prompting: “That’s not really the point is it? The point is whether if you will be able to offer guarantee on the treatment of the press…whether you are prepared to talk about the freedom of the press…”
At this moment, Lee Hsien Loong’s face went blank and became totally at lost of how to respond. Lee Hsien Loong went defensive and scolded the reporter: “I do not presume how your press should operate, why should you presume how my country should run?”
Lee Hsien Loong then fumbled with his answer, avoided the question on freedom of speech and blurted “we have one of the fastest internet in the world, we have no great wall of internet. You can get any site in the world here. So where is the restriction?”
Noticing that Lee Hsien Loong is slipping away from the question, the BBC reporter asked him again that if the government of Britain demands that freedom of speech be part of the conditions of a trade treaty, what would his reaction be. Lee Hsien Loong avoided the question saying “I will wait to react until I see it…aye you look at the Americans…”
Lee Hsien Loong then went on to slam the Americans for being hypocrites about championing democracy and freedom of speech in the short video clip by BBC. You may view the video here: