Malaysia and Singapore to merge

Malaysia and Singapore to merge

Posted in the Australia Forum

Razak

Singapore, Singapore

#1 Sep 22, 2011
Unlikely for S'pore, Malaysia to merge: Lee Kuan Yew
By Hoe Yeen Nie
22 September 2011

SINGAPORE: Singapore's former minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew said it is unlikely that Singapore and Malaysia will merge in the future.

He was speaking at the Singapore Global Dialogue, held at the Shangri-La Hotel, on Thursday evening. The dialogue was attended by some 400 participants from all over world.

Mr Lee was asked by a Malaysian citizen if he foresees both countries coming to a political or economic union in the future, given the growing strength of Indonesia.

Mr Lee said having gone through a failed merger in the 1960s, such a move is not likely.

But he also gave a positive outlook of bilateral relations, noting the efforts of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

These include developing the Iskandar region in southern Johor, which will complement Singapore's own economic growth.

"Najib has brought forth a positive view of bilateral relations and the desire to develop southern Johor, the Iskandar region, using Singapore as a kind of Shenzhen.(This) means a complementary set of forces will be let loose, which will make it unprofitable for either side to be unfriendly," said Mr Lee.

He added: "You want our investments, we want to invest. Having invested, we don't want problems with Malaysia, and Malaysia which wants more investments will not give us problems. So that's a positive development."

Mr Lee also said it is in the country's best interest to spread its wealth, to maintain "national solidarity".

"If you have fast growth, and it's confined only to one section of society, particularly the Chinese, and the Malays are left behind, I think it's not sustainable," said Mr Lee.

"It is in our interest to maintain national solidarity, to ensure there is a spread of the wealth that comes with growth, to the disadvantaged in the population."

The 40-minute dialogue saw wide-ranging questions from the audience.

Among them, what Mr Lee Kuan Yew thought were the key qualities that will keep Singapore going.

Mr Lee said factors such as meritocracy, pragmatism and a clean government have taken Singapore to where it is, and losing sight of any of them will cause the country to lose momentum.

Asked about his thoughts on Singapore's recent general election in May, where the ruling People's Action Party saw its vote share dip, Mr Lee said the "result was bound to happen".

"Our total dominance was not sustainable, a younger generation wants to see competition, they voted in an opposition party...(but) to have a two-party system is another matter. It depends on the performance of the opposition, the response of the government, and the mindset of succeeding younger generations that come with every general election."

When asked on how he hoped to be remembered, Mr Lee said he has no desire to be remembered for any particular reason, but he has a job to do - that is to maintain a fair distribution of growth for the country, and to maintain good relations with neighbours.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singap...
Razak

Singapore, Singapore

#2 Sep 22, 2011
Kuan Yew says happy to rejoin Malaysia if...

Thu, Oct 11, 2007
Bernama


SINGAPORE, Oct 11 (Bernama)- Some 10 years after remarking that Singapore might rejoin Malaysia if the island state's economy faltered and if Malaysia pursued meritocracy, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has again spoken on the subject.

"They have got all the resources. If they would just educate the Chinese and Indians, use them and treat them as their citizens, they can equal us and even do better than us and we would be happy to rejoin them," Lee said.

Lee made the remark in an interview on Sept 27 with syndicated columnist Tom Plate of the UCLA Media Center and new-media expert Jeffrey Cole of the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future.

The transcript of the interview is available online on the UCLA Asia Institute website.

In June 1996, Lee spoke about the possibility of Singapore rejoining Malaysia, raising a storm on both sides of the Causeway with then Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad saying that he did not think that the time had come for that yet.

Dr Mahathir had also described the remark as just a means "to jolt Singaporeans" into their senses.

- MORE

The latest remarks by the Singapore founding father came after he was asked about Singapore's "sense of endangerment" and why the island state was worried about survivability in the long run.

Lee replied: "Where are we? Are we in the Caribbean? Are we next to America like the Bahamas? Are we in the Mediterranean, like Malta, next to Italy? Are we like Hong Kong, next to China and therefore, will become part of China?

"We are in Southeast Asia, in the midst of a turbulent, volatile, unsettled region. Singapore is a superstructure built on what? On 700 square kilometres and a lot of smart ideas that have worked so far - but the whole thing could come undone very quickly".

To a question on who would come after Singapore, Lee replied: "When (Malaysia) kicked us out (in 1965), the expectation was that we would fail and we will go back on their terms, not on the terms we agreed with them under the British.

"Our problems are not just between states, this is a problem between races and religions and civilizations.

- MORE

"We are a standing indictment of all the things that they can be doing differently. They have got all the resources. If they would just educate the Chinese and Indians, use them and treat them as their citizens, they can equal us and even do better than us and we would be happy to rejoin them," he said.

Analysts here do not see any possibility of a Malaysia-Singapore merger.

"The chances of a re-merger in 1996 and in 2007 are the same - zero," said Dr Ooi Kee Beng, coordinator of the Malaysia study programme at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and best-selling author of 'The Reluctant Politician: Tun Dr Ismail and His Time'.

"The very idea of a re-merger on Singapore's terms is appalling to most Malays (in Malaysia) and any move in that direction would be political suicide for a Malaysian politician to take," Dr Ooi told Today newspaper.

- BERNAMA

http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest+News/Story...
Razak

Singapore, Singapore

#3 Sep 22, 2011
Lee Kuan Yew: an apology
Mar 20th 1997

MANY politicians agree with John Wayne's cowboy:“Never apologise and never explain--it's a sign of weakness.” Conversely, accepting an apology can be a sign of strength as well as magnanimity. All the better if the relationship is fraught with repressed resentment and rivalry. So Malaysia's cabinet must have relished its meeting on March 19th, when it accepted an apology and retraction from Singapore's senior minister, Lee Kuan Yew, for disparaging comments about a Malaysian state.

Goh Chok Tong, Singapore's prime minister, had earlier used a footballing metaphor to explain Mr Lee's predicament. His colleague, he said, had been caught “offside”. The furious reaction of many Malaysians suggested, however, that they believed that Mr Lee had committed a far more serious offence--deserving a red card.

The furore caused by Mr Lee's comments was remarkable in a region that makes a virtue of being tactful to the point of coyness about neighbouring countries and their leaders. There were demonstrations in Malaysia in which protesters called Mr Lee “senile” and a “bloody idiot”. Newspapers broadened the attack to Singaporeans as a whole, for their “pride and arrogance”, and contributors to Internet discussion groups threatened to “reclaim the little dot” of Singapore.

Mr Lee had provoked these outbursts with an affidavit submitted to a court in connection with a series of defamation suits against Tang Liang Hong, a Singaporean opposition politician. The document sought to rebut the reasons Mr Tang had given for leaving Singapore soon after the general election in January, in which he was a defeated candidate. Mr Tang had said he feared for his safety in Singapore, and he left for Johor Bahru , the Malaysian city just over the causeway from Singapore, before going on to London. Mr Lee's affidavit expressed bafflement.“He claimed that his life was under threat. But, of all places, he went to Johor. If there is anywhere where people can do him harm, that is the place.” Mr Lee said it was “notorious for shootings, muggings and car-jackings.”

His affidavit had been meant for reading in chambers, not in open court, but Mr Tang asked for an open hearing and the affidavit became public on March 12th. The next day, Mr Lee apologised “unreservedly” for the offence caused. He explained he had not visited Johor since he stepped down as prime minister in 1990, and his view of the dangers there was based on press reports. But many Malaysians were dissatisfied that the comments had not been explicitly retracted. On March 17th, Mr Lee applied to the court to have the offending passage of the affidavit removed.

This placated Malaysia's leaders, and should put a stop to the more extreme calls for retaliation floated in the Malaysian press. These had included cutting off some of Singapore's fresh-water supply and withdrawing the large numbers of Malaysian workers from the country. Lim Guan Eng, a Malaysian opposition politician, said the incident had illustrated the “racial, economic, cultural and political tension” that is “always there” in the two countries' relations. From 1963 to 1965, Singapore was part of the Federation in Malaysia. It was ejected against a backdrop of ethnic discord between Chinese, who make up 77% of Singapore's population and 31% of Malaysia's, and Malays (14% in Singapore and 58% in Malaysia).

http://www.economist.com/node/145759
Razak

Singapore, Singapore

#4 Sep 22, 2011
Since separation, both countries have prospered greatly. But, whereas Malaysia is still a developing country, with a GNP per head of around $4,000, Singapore is, by the same measure, at least six times as rich. That prosperity is largely based on its ability to stay one step ahead of its neighbours as a communications, transport and financial hub.

Now comes Malaysia's challenge. It is building new ports, so that less of its trade will be shipped through Singapore. Kuala Lumpur's new airport, to open next year, is advertised as the biggest in the region. The Malaysian capital also wants to become a financial centre; and the prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, is drumming up support for a “multimedia super-corridor” intended in part to divert information-technology business from Singapore.

Increased competition from Malaysia prompted Mr Lee and some of his colleagues to speculate last year about having to ask Malaysia to take Singapore back. That also caused great offence across the causeway, because some ministers said a re-merging would not be palatable until Malaysia followed “meritocratic” policies like Singapore's. This comment on a neighbour's internal politics was a breach of South-East Asian etiquette.

Besides commercial and political rivalry, there is also more intangible competition for intellectual leadership in the region. Mr Lee and Dr Mahathir are probably the two best-known spokesmen for the set of political ideas that have become known as “Asian values”. Partly thanks to Mr Lee, Singapore, which has a population of only 3m people, has long punched well above its weight in regional affairs. But its influence is limited compared to that of the regional giant, Indonesia, about which both Singaporean and Malaysian leaders observe a respectful silence. The Malaysian government last November strongly criticised a conference in Kuala Lumpur on Indonesia's role in East Timor. The meeting was broken up by members of the youth wing of Dr Mahathir's party.

By contrast Dr Mahathir seemed tacitly to endorse the early protests against Mr Lee. Even after Malaysia had accepted his apology, a group of demonstrators carrying a banner reading “Respect human rights in Singapore” was allowed to picket Singapore's High Commission.

Ironically, the row distracted attention from the implications of Mr Lee's remarks back home. The defamation suits against Mr Tang mostly related to his accusations that Mr Lee and others were lying when they called him a “Chinese chauvinist”. The government turned this into a big election issue, arguing that opponents like Mr Tang threatened its record of ethnic harmony.

No fewer than 12 defamation suits succeeded on March 10th, when Mr Tang failed to present any defence. But ethnic harmony might also, presumably, be undermined by opening old sores in the Malaysian relationship. In this respect, Mr Tang seemed to be doing his bit to restore calm. On March 11th, he turned up to hold a news conference in, once again, Johor Bahru. He is one Singaporean, at least, who apparently still feels safer there.

http://www.economist.com/node/145759
Razak

Singapore, Singapore

#5 Sep 22, 2011
MM Lee speaks about idea of Singapore-Malaysia reunion once again
By Loh Chee Kong
11 October 2007

SINGAPORE: Some 10 years after he publicly broached the idea of a Singapore-Malaysia reunion - to raised eyebrows all around - Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has spoken about the topic once again.

In a recent interview with American journalist Tom Plate, Mr Lee said Singapore would be "happy" to go back to Malaysia should the latter practise meritocracy.

On Wednesday, transcripts of the wide-ranging interview - conducted last month in Mr Lee's office - were made available online by UCLA Asia Institute.

When Mr Plate asked Mr Lee who he thought would "come after" Singapore, the Minister Mentor said: "We are a standing indictment of all the things that they (Malaysia) can be doing differently."

"If they would just educate the Chinese and Indians, use them and treat them as their citizens, they can equal us and even do better than us and we would be happy to rejoin them."

The last time Mr Lee floated the idea in 1996, it caused ripples on both sides of the Causeway, with then-Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad replying that he did not think "it is time yet".

While much has changed since then, scepticism towards a reunion remains.

Said Dr Ooi Kee Beng, an Institute of South-east Asian Studies (ISEAS) fellow: "The chances of a re-merger in 1996 and in 2007 are the same - Zero."

While bilateral economic links would continue to increase, Malaysia is far from ditching its decades-old bumiputera policy, "where race-based affirmative action ... has disqualified efficacy as the criterion for policy correctness", Dr Ooi added.

In Parliament, Opposition leader Chiam See Tong is often a lone, but persistent, voice on the issue of an economic union with Malaysia, espousing the benefits of a common market.

Mr Chiam told TODAY: "A political union is out of the question. The Malaysians will never agree."

Dr Ooi added: "The very idea of a re-merger on Singapore's terms is appalling to most Malays (in Malaysia) and any move in that direction would be political suicide for a Malaysian politician to take."

ISEAS' Dr Terence Chong believes that Mr Lee had in mind the future - "50 to 100 years down the road" - when he talked about rejoining Malaysia.

Said Dr Chong: "If you look at historic port cities, they all enjoy their golden eras and then decline. For Singapore to flourish in perpetuity would mean defying history."

Already, Singapore is facing a fight to keep the very talent it had successfully attracted.

Mr Lee acknowledged in the interview that the Chinese students on Singapore Government scholarships were using the Republic as a stepping-stone.

Said Mr Lee: "They come in here, they get an English education ... and they're off to America. The Indians, strangely enough, more of them stay here in Singapore because they want to go home to visit their families."

Mr Lee added: "We are net gainers for how long? I think in the case of China, maybe another 20, 30 years ... India, maybe longer - 50, 60 years before their infrastructure catches up. Anyway, this is not my worry anymore!"

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singap...
Poh

Bangkok, Thailand

#6 Sep 22, 2011
"We are a standing indictment of all the things that they can be doing differently. They have got all the resources. If they would just educate the Chinese and Indians, use them and treat them as their citizens, they can equal us and even do better than us and we would be happy to rejoin them," he said.

THAT WILL BE THE KEY
Ratz we can

Gurgaon, India

#7 Sep 22, 2011
I hope Malaysia gets its act together. The only way forward today is Meritocracy, for any country.

Any country that does not realize this, any country or people that are held back by religion or racism or just plain stupidity, will be left far behind in this fast paced century.

The Axe of evolution will be chasing all of us faster than ever. Only the swift will survive. And these survivors will be the next iteration in human evolution.
Same

Melbourne, Australia

#8 Sep 23, 2011
Ratz we can wrote:
I hope Malaysia gets its act together. The only way forward today is Meritocracy, for any country.
Any country that does not realize this, any country or people that are held back by religion or racism or just plain stupidity, will be left far behind in this fast paced century.
The Axe of evolution will be chasing all of us faster than ever. Only the swift will survive. And these survivors will be the next iteration in human evolution.
what about indians do they treat non indians in india as an equal ?

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