Some people think that Dr. M is back to his old ways of "do Singapore in". This perception is also being fanned by some people at senior levels and the media.

I have a different view. Here are my reasons:

a) Dr. M today is quite different from the past. He came back from retirement to remove a kleptocratic govt (quoting the description that he used). He does not want to see his country go down the drain.

b) Malaysia faced financial challenges. His ministers approached Singapore to waive the penalty for the cancellation of the High Speed Rail. We refused. He asked Singapore to pay a higher price for the water. We refused.

c) He came to Singapore during the ASEAN meeting to receive an honorary doctor of law degree (which he does not need). His main purpose was, in my guess, to talk about the price of water. The meeting concluded with an understanding to continue discussions. We are talking about $15 million a year, not a lot of money.

Dr. M must be disappointed at the attitude of the Singapore govt leaders. I can understand his disappointment.

I have been alarmed at the billions that we spend on infrastructure projects in Singapore. In some cases, I felt the large sums spent were excessive and unnecessary.

I would certainly have preferred to spend just a few hundred millions to build good relations with Malaysia, especially during their hour of need.

Sadly, we did not extend a hand of help. We missed the opportunity to build goodwill.

We will now pay the price for the bad relations. It will cost many times more than the money that we should have spent.

Some people will argue that we need to be "principled" and to adhere to the rule of law.

I cannot understand why being "principled" should preclude us from being generous in helping someone who needs the help.

There is still time to change our approach. I hope that our foreign minister can play a role in bringing this about. He should not miss this opportunity.

Tan Kin Lian












Some people think that Dr. M is back to his old ways of "do Singapore in". This perception is also being fanned by some people at senior levels and the media.

I have a different view. Here are my reasons:

a) Dr. M today is quite different from the past. He came back from retirement to remove a kleptocratic govt (quoting the description that he used). He does not want to see his country go down the drain.

b) Malaysia faced financial challenges. His ministers approached Singapore to waive the penalty for the cancellation of the High Speed Rail. We refused. He asked Singapore to pay a higher price for the water. We refused.

c) He came to Singapore during the ASEAN meeting to receive an honorary doctor of law degree (which he does not need). His main purpose was, in my guess, to talk about the price of water. The meeting concluded with an understanding to continue discussions. We are talking about $15 million a year, not a lot of money.

Dr. M must be disappointed at the attitude of the Singapore govt leaders. I can understand his disappointment.

I have been alarmed at the billions that we spend on infrastructure projects in Singapore. In some cases, I felt the large sums spent were excessive and unnecessary.

I would certainly have preferred to spend just a few hundred millions to build good relations with Malaysia, especially during their hour of need.

Sadly, we did not extend a hand of help. We missed the opportunity to build goodwill.

We will now pay the price for the bad relations. It will cost many times more than the money that we should have spent.

Some people will argue that we need to be "principled" and to adhere to the rule of law.

I cannot understand why being "principled" should preclude us from being generous in helping someone who needs the help.

There is still time to change our approach. I hope that our foreign minister can play a role in bringing this about. He should not miss this opportunity.

Tan Kin Lian