Photo of Lee Kuan Yew and Kishore Mahbubani from Google

PAP old guard Professor Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, criticised Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong over his poor handling of China’s affairs pointing out that Lee Hsien Loong is not globally respected like his father Lee Kuan Yew:

“Mr Lee Kuan Yew never acted as a leader of a small state. He would comment openly and liberally on great powers, including America and Russia, China and India. However, he had earned the right to do so because the great powers treated him with great respect as a global statesman. We are now in the post-Lee Kuan Yew era. Sadly, we will probably never again have another globally respected statesman like Mr Lee.”

Kishore Mahbubani, the former Singapore representative to United Nations, also slammed Lee Hsien Loong for being unwise and ignorant of timing:

“What’s the first thing we should do? Exercise discretion. We should be very restrained in commenting on matters involving great powers.

Hence, it would have been wiser to be more circumspect on the judgment of an international tribunal on the arbitration which the Philippines instituted against China concerning the South China Sea dispute, especially since the Philippines, which was involved in the case, did not want to press it.

When I hear some of our official representatives say that we should take a “consistent and principled” stand on geopolitical issues, I am tempted to remind them that consistency and principle are important, but cannot be the only traits that define our diplomacy. And there is a season for everything. The best time to speak up for our principles is not necessarily in the heat of a row between bigger powers.”

You may read his full article on Straits Times here.