India objects to Singapore PM's comments on Indian MPs
New Delhi, Feb 17: India on Thursday expressed its objection to Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's remarks on Indian lawmakers where he accused half of the MPs of having criminal charges pending against them, sources informed PTI.
It is reported that the Ministry of External Affairs called on Singapore's high commissioner to India Simon Wong to convey that the comments were "uncalled for" and that India objected to them. "The remarks by the prime minister of Singapore were uncalled for. We are taking up the matter with the Singaporean side," said one of the people cited above.
What Singapore PM said?
In his nearly 40-minute speech, the Singaporean prime minister talked about how a democratic system needs lawmakers with integrity and invoked India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru to stress how democracy should work in the city-state.
"The leaders, who fought for and won independence, are often exceptional individuals of great courage, immense culture, and outstanding ability. They came through the crucible of fire and emerged as leaders of men and nations. They are the David BenGurions, the Jawaharlal Nehrus, and we have our own too," he said.
Elaborating further, he said, "Many political systems today would be quite unrecognisable to their founding leaders. Ben-Gurion's Israel has morphed into one which can barely form a government, despite four general elections in two years.
Meanwhile, a stream of senior politicians and officials in Israel face a litany of criminal charges, some have gone to jail." "While Nehru's India has become one where, according to media reports, almost half the MPs in the Lok Sabha have criminal charges pending against them, including charges of rape and murder. Though it is also said that many of these allegations are politically motivated," Lee said.
"What is to prevent Singapore from going down the same road? Nothing. We are not intrinsically smarter or more virtuous than other countries. Modern Singapore does not come born with a fail-safe mechanism," he added.
The 70-year-old prime minister said each succeeding generation must protect and build upon the system that Singapore has inherited. PTI