In an interview with a senior fellow at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, The PKR president-elect said, for Singapore and Malaysia to forge stronger ties, it should not just be about “Dollars and cents, rule and order” “For Singapore, the problem is, we in Malaysia take it like… how to say it… not so businesslike.”
“I think realities are realities – the sociocultural fabric is something we (Malaysia) tend to be more relaxed about,” he said in the interview.
Mr Anwar said bilateral ties “will improve” after he takes over as prime minister from Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Soon after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) unexpected victory, Dr Mahathir announced his intention to scrap a high-speed rail (HSR) link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in an effort to reduce the country’s RM1 trillion debt.
Dr Mahathir also seek to renegotiate a long-standing water supply agreement and in August 13, suggested that the price of water sold to Singapore be increased by tenfold.
Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, responded saying Singapore was not in talks with Malaysia to renegotiate the price and Singapore has stood firm that both countries have to adhere to the terms of the agreement.
Mr Anwar said things will improve, but “I think it is not just because of Dr Mahathir”.
“I think if you see the relationship (with Singapore) under (then) prime minister Najib (Razak) as good… it was not necessarily something positive, because some deals were suspect, dubious.”
Mr Anwar said during the Barisan Nasional administration, there were PH leaders who viewed some of the positions taken by Singapore, particularly those on politics, as “excessive”.
“But I think we have to move on. It is quite right for Dr Mahathir to raise those issues.
“What is important is to continue to engage, to try and resolve and move beyond these two issues. The bottom line is, we have to work together. “
“Everything should be done to cement this relationship. Both countries will need each other.” Said Mr Anwar
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