Ladies and gentlemen, it’s not even the end of 2022 but we have reached a peak of incredulity.
Former two-time Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr Mahathir Mohamad said last Sunday (June 19, 2022) that Singapore belonged to Johor and that Singapore should be returned to the state and to Malaysia.
“However, there is no demand whatsoever of Singapore. Instead we show our appreciation to the leadership of this new country called Singapore,” he said at an event called “Aku Melayu: Survival Bermula (I am Malay: Survival Begins).
“We should demand not just that Pedra Branca, or Pulau Batu Puteh, be given back to us, we should also demand Singapore as well as the Riau Islands, as they are Tanah Melayu (Malay land),” he then added.
Not sure what to make of what the 96-year-old said but here’s a response from Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin.
Mr Tan also posted a lengthy comment on his Facebook post (that was just as caption), saying:
“What I find amusing and sad is how some Singaporeans use their anecdotal experience in Malaysia, such as some coffee shop owner offering free drinks, to pull down our own nation and who we are as a people. There are many kind and generous souls here too btw. And the usual folks jumping on board to wax lyrical about how great it is on the other side of the causeway and how poorly we are in comparison. But they are entitled to their views.
We are certainly not perfect and can be better and will improve. But I’m proud to be a Singaporean and don’t spend my time running my own country and people down.
And of course there are the usual suspects that celebrate their politicians…Oh well. “
Oh well indeed.
Not the first time
Well, this isn’t the first time Dr M decided to ignore international rules, laws and standing agreements.
In 2019, he said: “We need to fight for this. A rich country (Singapore) (cannot be) buying water from poor countries at such an unreasonable price.”
He chose to completely disregard the 1962 Water Agreement.
Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said in Parliament that the agreement is not about who is richer or poorer but about the fundamental principle of respecting the sanctity of agreements.
In fact, he added that Malaysia has acknowledged that it chose not to seek a review of the water price in 1987 because it benefited from the pricing arrangement under the agreement.
Singapore as a conduit?
Interestingly, Dr M’s Jun 19 speech came a few days after Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, accused the Malaysian federal government on June 16 of “sidelining” the state and that the federal government treated Johor as a “stepchild” despite the state’s contributions to the Malaysian economy.
He even mentioned a possible secession at the first session of the 15th Johor State Legislative Assembly.
“If this trend continues, Johoreans may agitate for secession from Malaysia,” he said. “Perhaps Johor can be more developed if we stand on our own.”
To put everything into context, Dr Mahathir has had history with the Johor royal family.
So was he using Singapore to irritate / intimidate Johor? Nobody knows.
We just know that one can enjoy Dr M’s comments as light reading for the hump day.
Till the next time!
Cover photo credit: Straits Times