Shaykh Zakaria Bagharib (q.s.) & Lee Kuan Yew

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was extracted from the Lincoln Star, from Monday, 05th July 5, 1971, and is taken from United Press International.

Prime Minister Yew Appears to be Winning Dispute over Purge in Singapore.

The enemies of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew appear to be getting burned most by the heat generated when Lee led a purge against the press.  It seems almost as if he had planned it that way.  Lee dropped a bombshell at the International Press Institute (IPI) meeting in Helsinki several weeks ago when newsmen questioned him about his crackdown against three Singapore newspapers.  The shrapnel has spread to the only political opposition in years to battle Lee’s powerful People’s Action Party (PAP).

The newly created people’s front party was gaining islandwide attention in its articulate bid to become a reasonable alternative to PAP for elections to be held before mid- 1973.  Not anymore — not since a sharp rift developed in the party ranks after Lee’s Helsinki appearance.  The focus of the rift is Zakaria bin Omar Bagharib, the vice president of the People’s Front and husband of Dr. Shirley Gordon, a sociologist well known in academic circles here and in the United States.  One of the things Lee said in Helsinki was that Dr. Gordon married a Singapore spy, presumably Bagharib.  A London editor asked Lee at a Helsinki news conference what was behind the Singapore government decree banning press coverage last July of the official denial to permit re-entry into Singapore of Dr. Gordon.

“Dr. Gordon,” he replied, “trained to be a CIA operator, was unsuccessful, got married to a series of Malaysian politicians, and eventually married one of our agents.”

Dr. Gordon later denied the charge and in a statement from her home in Malaysia said she deplored American intelligence incursions into the affairs of foreign countries.  She said she never had anything to do with the CIA and contradicted the allegation about her husband.  “On the contrary, I married a humble Malay teacher, civil servant and vice president of a political party in opposition to the prime minister’s People’s Action Party,” she said.

But Lee’s charge was successful in dividing the People’s Front over Bagharib.  Several of the party’s executive committeemen are known to want the “suspect Bagharib drummed out of the ranks.”  Secretary General Lui Boon Poh, currently hospitalised and unavailable for comment, is reported to favour retaining Bagharib.  The Singapore Straits Times has said the dispute threatens to split the party, destroying its thus far small base of unified leadership.

The Nebraska newspaper article below reporting one of the cases where an exemplary Singapore Muslim scholar, and my shaykh, Shaykh Zakaria ibn ‘Umar Bagharib (q.s.) was attacked in one of Lee Kuan Yew’s election campaign.  He lost the election to Lee Kuan Yew, who remained Prime Minister of Singapore until he stepped down in 1990.  Shaykh Zakaria (q.s.) left politics to focus on business, and teaching Islam.


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