S'pore minister now says didn't meant to insult M'sia, China

Modified 5 Sep 2015, 1:30 pm

After Singapore's Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say sparked an internet firestorm by saying that he was "lucky" he was not from Malaysia or China, he has now said that he did not mean to offend people of those countries.

Lim said it was only natural that as a Singaporean, he would speak better of his own country.

"I see some people on the internet think that I am looking down on their country; that is not the case.

"Whether we are Singaporeans, Malaysians, or (mainland) Chinese, we all want to be proud of our country's own progress.

"So I hope my (mainland) Chinese and Malaysian friends do not misunderstand; there was no ill-intention (in my statement)," he was quoted as saying in a video uploaded on Oriental Daily .

Lim said he was sure people from other countries would also make similar arguments.

"I believe in China, there would also be many (mainland) Chinese who would say they were glad their parents did not come to Singapore and are lucky to be (mainland) Chinese," he said.

In a campaign speech yesterday, the People's Action Party (PAP) candidate for East Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC) said he is "lucky for not being a citizen of China or a Malaysian".

Lim ( photo, extreme right ) recalled how his father came to Singapore from China.

"Later my father got to know my mother, they got married and had six children.

"So this year we celebrate SG50 (Singapore's 50th anniversary), and I am thinking, if my father didn't get on the boat to Singapore, I might be a China citizen," he added.

Lim also believes that it was fortunate Singapore separated with Malaysia in 1965, otherwise Singaporeans would be Malaysians.

"Then in 1965, Singapore and Malaysia separated, because (founding father) Mr Lee Kuan Yew wanted a nation regardless of language, regardless of race - one that is equal.

"So we can't stay in Malaysia, as the tenet of Malaysia is: Malaysia belongs to the Malays. So we had no choice, we could only separate.

"So I am thinking, if we didn't separate in 1965, today you and I would be Malaysians, 'heng' (lucky) ah," he said.