It was basically a case of Lee Kuan
Yew versus the pro-Malay politicians in Malaysia.
Lee Kuan Yew insisted that he
was the Prime Minister of Singapore and should be
treated as such. The Malaysian politicians, on
the other hand were saying that he was just one
of a large number of Mentri Besars, and they did
not believe that he should be given any more
power than their Mentri Besars.
not give him too much rope"
Lee Kuan Yew wanted to make the
point that he was somewhat above the Mentri
Besars but the others in Malaysia said,
'Lets not give him too much rope'. The
group of people who were especially vocal were
who Lee Kuan Yew openly called the ultras or
extremists. They had the support of the Malay
voters. Jaffar Albal was the most prominent of
the ultras. He was an UMNO member.
Lee Kuan Yew also made a lot of
speeches advocating a Malaysian Malaysia. He
wanted to win the support of the Sabahans and
Sarawakans by advocating a Malaysia for all
Malaysians, where all groups were equal.
Many of his speeches were made
in Suleiman Court in Kuala Lumpur. In those days,
Suleiman Court was an open space at the junction
of Batu and Campbell Roads, two major roads in
the centre of town. Although he could not give
speeches at the more prestigious places such as
the Padang, Suleiman Court was a suitable open
space. There were buildings on the side where
people could run for shelter when it rained.
Kuan Yew was a good speaker,
and his rallies were always very well attended.
Plenty of people were willing to listen to him,
including Malaysian Chinese.
man is making too much noise"
But his views ran contrary to
those held by the pro-Malay politicians. They
said: 'This man is making too much noise'. They
didnt like this very much. Lee Kuan Yew was
perceived by them as trying to erode the special
position of the Malays and their culture.
Because a lot of people were
listening to him, Lee Kuan Yew was encouraged to
push harder for a Malaysian Malaysia.
The Tengku thought that Lee
Kuan Yew was wrong to be so vocal. Chinese and
Malaysians and Malaysia for Malaysians when all
his ultras were up in arms.
The Tengku was a moderate.
But dont forget that the
Tengku needed the support of his ultras and their
supporters in UMNO. Moreover, he was probably
aware that the ultras, being more vocal and
numerous in UMNO, also spoke for many silent
But Lee Kuan Yew would not be
stopped. He felt he had the right to speak at the
rallies, to get his supporters into Parliament in
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