Malaysia, stop with your old political tac­tics

The Nation - - OPINION -

Re: “Malaysia to voice protest over S’pore land­ing sys­tem in Sele­tar”, AseanPlus, De­cem­ber 5

It is de­plorable to see the Malaysian gov­ern­ment re­sort­ing to old tac­tics in or­der to score political points with the elec­torate at the ex­pense of neigh­bour­ing Sin­ga­pore.

Ever since Ma­hathir took over in May, he has been mak­ing things dif­fi­cult for Sin­ga­pore, in­clud­ing de­lay­ing the con­struc­tion of high­speed rail­way con­nect­ing the two coun­tries and restart­ing de­bate on the price of wa­ter.

The idio­syn­cratic Ma­hathir has al­ways borne a grudge against Sin­ga­pore due to his ex­pe­ri­ence as a stu­dent in the coun­try and the his­tor­i­cal en­mity sur­round­ing Sin­ga­pore’s political ex­pul­sion from the Malaysian fed­er­a­tion in Au­gust 1965.

I am un­sure what his agenda is this time to protest against airspace sovereignty in south­ern Jo­hor, when it has been man­aged by Sin­ga­pore since 1973 un­der an agree­ment with re­gional states in­clud­ing Malaysia. It was ap­proved by the In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion then. So what’s the rea­son now to mess with the sta­tus quo?

I hope Ma­hathir can stop such tac­tics and be­have like an el­der states­man. There are many other do­mes­tic prob­lems for him to solve – like the mas­sive debt in­curred by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment – in­stead of pol­i­tick­ing in the for­eign pol­icy arena.

Sean

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