The “political uncertainty” in Malaysia, following Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s return to the premiership post under the Pakatan Harapan coalition, has led to the re-emergence of thorny bilateral relations between the nation and neighbouring Singapore, said Singapore’s former Ambassador-at-Large Bilahari Kausikan.

The former diplomat wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday (4 Dec) that such political uncertainty, as a result of what he deems to be an “intrinsically unstable” coalition “held together by a 93-year-old man”, has led to “Singapore being used as a bogeyman to hold things together” for the Republic’s northern neighbour.

“It is not an accident that so many old bilateral issues — water, bridge, FIR and maritime boundaries — have resurfaced after the change of government. The new governing coalition is intrinsically unstable and held together by a 93 year old man,” he wrote.

Mr Kausikan concluded his post with a grim forecast for Malaysia’s future: “Political uncertainty in Malaysia inevitably leads to Singapore being used as a bogeyman to hold things together. So wish the good doctor good health and long-life: it may well be worse without him.”

Malaysian netizens’ did not take kindly to Mr Kausikan’s statement, with many of them suggesting that the resurfacing of bilateral disputes between Singapore and Malaysia is a result of Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP)’s fear of being ousted out of power by Singaporeans in the upcoming election, and that Malaysia and Dr Mahathir are being used as scapegoats to fan negative sentiments as a means of political distraction:

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