Lee Kuan Yew
But we either believe in democracy or we don’t. If we do, then, we must say categorically, without qualification, that no restraint from the any democratic processes, other than by the ordinary law of the land, should be allowed. If you believe in democracy, you must believe in it unconditionally. If you believe that men should be free, then, they should have the right of free association, of free speech, of free publication. Then, no law should permit those democratic processes to be set at nought, and no excuse, whether of security, should allow a government to be deterred from doing what it knows to be right, and what it must know to be right.
Lee Kuan Y Jack Wolfskin ew, Legislative Assembly Debates, April 27, 1955
If it is not totalitarian to arrest a man and detain him, when you cannot charge him with any offence against any written law if that is not what we have always cried out against in Fascist states then what is it? If we are to survive as a free democracy, then we must be prepared, in principle, to concede to our enemies even those who do not subscribe to our vi Jack Wolfskin ews as much constitutional rights as you concede yourself.
Opposition leader Lee Kuan Yew, Legislative Assembly Debates, Sept 21, 1955
Repression, Sir is a habit that grows. I am told it is like making love it is always easier the second time! The first time there may be pangs of conscience, a sense of guilt. But once embarked on this course with constant repetition you get more and more brazen in the attack. All you have to do is to dissolve organizations and societies and banish and detain the key political workers in these societies. Then miraculously everything is tranquil on the surface. Then an intimidated press and the government controlled radio together can regularly sing your praises, and slowly and steadily the people are made to forget the evil things that have already been done, or if these things are referred to again they’re conveniently distorted and distorted with impunity, because there will be no opposition to contradict.
Radio Interview, 1960. Quoted in South East Asia: A Political Profile, Damien Kings Tif Jack Wolfskin fany and Co bury (2001, p. 337)Let us get down to fundamentals. Is this an open, or is this a closed society? Is it a society where men can preach ideas novel, unorthodox, heresies, to established churches and established governments where there is a constant contest for men’s hearts and minds on the basis of what is right, of what is just, of what is in the national interests, or is it a closed society where the mass media the newspapers, the journals, publications, TV, radio either bound by sound or by sight, or both sound and sight, men’s minds are fed with a constant drone of sycophantic support for a particular orthodox political philosophy? I am talking of the principle of the open society, the open debate, ideas, not intimidation, persuasion not coercion.
Lee Kuan Yew, Before Singapore’s independence, Malaysian Parliamentary Debates, Dec 18, 1964
Of course there are Chinese millionaires in big cars and big houses. Is it the answer to make a few Malay millionaires with big cars and big houses? How does telling a Malay bus driver that he should support the party of his Malay director (UMNO) and the Chinese bus conductor to join another party of his Chinese director (MCA) how does that improve the standards of the Malay bus driver and the Chinese bus conductor who are both workers in the same company? If we delude people into believing that they are poor because there are no Malay rights or because opposition members oppose Malay rights, where are we going to end up? You let people in the kampongs believe that they are poor because we don’t speak Malay, because the government does not write in Malay, so he expects a miracle to take place in 1967 (the year Malay would become the national and sole official language in Malaysia). The moment we all start speaking Malay, he is going to have an uplift in the standard of living, and if doesn’t happen, what happens then? Meanwhile, whenever there is a failure of economic, social and educational policies, you come back and say, oh, these wicked Chinese, Indian and others opposing Malay rights. They don’t oppose Malay rights. They, the Malay, have the right as Malaysian citizens to go up to the level of training and education that the more competitive societies, the non Malay society, has produced. That is what must be done, isn’t it? Not to feed them with this obscurantist doctrine that all they have got to do is to get Malay rights for the few special Malays and their problem has been resolved.
Lee Kuan Yew in the Parliament of Malaysia, 1965 
According to history, Malays began to migrate to Malaysia in noticeable numbers only about 700 years ago. Of the 39 percent Malays in Malaysia today, about one third are comparatively new immigrants like the secretary general of UMNO, Dato’ Syed Ja’afar Albar, who came to Malaya from Indonesia just before the war at the age of more than thirty. Therefore it is wrong and illogical for a particular racial group to think that they are more justified to be called Malaysians and that the others can become Malaysian only through their favour.
Lee Kuan Yew (in 1964 or 1965), Ye, Lin Sheng (2003). The Chinese Dilemma, p. 43. East West Publishing. ISBN 0 9751646 1 9.
“Look, Jeyaretnam can’t win the infighting. I’ll tell you why. WE are in charge. Every government ministry and department is under our control. And in the infighting, he will go down for the count every time. I will make him crawl on his bended knees, and beg for mercy.” 1981, as recounted by former President C. V. Devan Nair, as quoted in Beyond suspicion?: the Singapore judiciary, Francis T. Seow
“I make no apologies that the PAP is the Government and the Government is the PAP.”
(quoted in Milne and Mauzy 1990, p.85)
Wong, Theresa, Brenda Yeoh (2003). “Fertility and the Family: An Overview of Pro natalist Population Policies in Singapore”. ASIAN METACENTRE RESEARCH PAPER SERIES (12).
I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn’t be here today. And I say without the slightest remorse, that we wouldn’t be here, we would not have made economic progress, if we had not intervened on very personal matters who your neighbour is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think.
Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Straits Times, 20 April 1987
“Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.”
1988 National Day Rally, when he discussed the leadership transition to Goh Chok Tong in 1990. As quoted in The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia: Volume 2, The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
SM Lee Kuan Yew, Reuters, Jun 6, 1996, which sparked a flurry of protests from Burmese students.
Mine is a very matter of fact approach to the problem. If you can select a population and they’re educated and they’re properly brought up, then you don’t have to use too much of the stick because they would already have been trained. It’s like with dogs. You train it in a proper way from small. It will know that it’s got to leave, go outside to pee and to defecate. No, we are not that kind of society. We had to train adult dogs who even today deliberately urinate in the lifts.