Sunday, January 29, 2006

A crooked relationship

Surprisingly, Malaysia is reportedly proceeding with its plans to build a half-bridge on its side of the Singapore-Johor Causeway. This idea was first mooted a couple of years ago by the Mahathir Administration during one of the worst periods in the relations between Singapore and Malaysia. Post-Mahathir relations have improved considerably, with the idea of a half-bridge put back onto the negotiating table.

Singapore-Johor CausewayI guess a reason must be that Malaysia has become impatient with the progress of the talks and think that such a drastic action will help kickstart this aspect of its negotiations. Whatever it is, if such a half-bridge were to be constructed, it will be a distinctive landmark and probably a freak show of the extent to which sour relations between two nations can lead to. Heck, from a Singaporean's perspective, Malaysia is much much larger than Singapore, and its potentially much much greater than the small island state. It doesn't need Singapore's lands, or its national's money currently locked up in the Singapore CPF system. I am speculating - does it want unimpeded sea passage through the Straits of Johor so that its Tanjong Pelapas Port and other ports it may have in mind along the Johor coast can become more convenient for shippers?

When, and if, the Causeway is demolished, another part of Singapore's historic landmark will also disappear. That is a lot to pay for benefits that are speculative at best.

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