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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 38, No. 6 April 10, 1975

Lee Welcomed With Protest

page 5

Lee Welcomed With Protest

At a time when dominoes are crashing down in a few overworked minds, Mr Lee Kuan Yew's visit has given a much needed filip to the sagging morale of some local politicians.

They received him with great enthusiasm. The leader of one opposition party went out of his way to condone political repression in Singapore because of the necessity to combat 'subversion' and the communists. The press showed much reverence for this darling of the Free World. In one paper an article carried the headline 'Listen to Mr Lee Kuan Yew' although Mr Lee so far had only said things his ingratiating supporters want to listen to.

However, not everyone was so enrapted by Mr Harry Lee as he was known at Cambridge University. At Auckland airport masked students demonstrated against his repressive government on 5 April 1975 and another demonstration was held in Wellington two days later outside the James Cook Hotel in Wellington. Forums were held on April 5 both at Auckland university and Victoria University Wellington to discuss Lee's brand of fascist politics.

Lee Kuan Yew

Dr R Vasil, political scientist, and Richard Norman, reporter, spoke at the Wellington meeting. Dr Vasil gave a brief summary of the political setup of Singapore and Mr Norman spoke about his impression of Singapore after a month's visit there. He expressed his complete distaste for Lee Kuan Yew's 'iron-fisted' running of the country in denying its citizens of their basic human rights. The Rev Don Borrie spoke from the floor. He remarked that Mr Lee and his type of government were anachronisms in a world which was moving forward for better things.

Dr M R Stenson, political scientist, strongly criticised the approach of New Zealand politicians at the Auckland meeting, (reported Dominion 6 April 1975). He said politicians here were generally innocent of Asian affairs and had a 'naive readiness to be flattered by the attention of leaders such as Singapore's Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, 'For those MPs on their first or second trip to Asia to be lavishly dined and chatted up in the best hotel in Singapore is quite sufficient to convince them that their socialist confreres in Mr Lee's People Action Party are doing great things and deserve our support.'

At the meeting the MSA and MSSA in Auckland issued a joint press statement calling on the New Zealand government to withdraw all military aid to Singapore.