Monday, March 11, 2019

S'poreans should 'brace themselves' for more issues with M'sia: Bilahari Kausikan

08 March, 2019

SINGAPORE — Air pollution, stalled rail projects and constant antagonism by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad are just some of the issues Singaporeans must continue to bear with because of the instability of Pakatan Harapan, said retired Singapore diplomat Bilahari Kausikan.

In a Facebook post on Friday (March 8), Mr Kausikan shared a TODAY report stating that the Rapid Transit System (RTS) rail system connecting Singapore with Johor would be delayed as Putrajaya had failed to meet project deadlines.

“This is just another example of the consequences of a fundamentally incoherent and thus ineffective, government across the causeway,” he wrote in a caption accompanying the report.

Acting Transport Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told Parliament on March 7 that the rail link project was no longer on track to start operations by the original target of Dec 31, 2024, because of delays from the Malaysian side.

[Let's just say, I am not surprised. I would have been amazed and impressed if the rail link had commenced operation according to plans. ]

Apart from the stalled project, Mr Kausikan also cited “haze from fires in Johor that (are) affecting parts of Singapore”, and the resurgence of several bilateral disputes as other examples of the failure of the new government to rule effectively.

“Dr Mahathir raising old bilateral issues to distract attention from his inability and unwillingness to keep promises made during an election he by his own admission did not expect to win, is yet another,” he said.

“We may resolve some issues but others will arise.”

The former policy adviser to the Singapore government said the problem with Malaysia was “not just Dr M(ahathir), it is systemic instability”.

“I don’t think the next Malaysian leader — whoever he may be — can easily restore stability.Singaporeans should brace themselves for the long haul.”

Last month, Mr Kausikan told a public lecture in Singapore that political instability in PH coalition and its failure to capture Malay support are prompting its leaders to aggravate relations between the two countries.


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