Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Love thy neighbour

Looks like the Malaysian and Singaporean Prime Ministers are getting pretty chummy with each other. It just makes my heart melt.

I think it's awesome that the leaders of both countries are keen to settle the outstanding bilateral issues (that they "inherited" from their predecessors). As a concerned citizen, I too would like to see the issues resolved for our mutual good. So here are my proposals:

Issue #1: The price of water sold to Singapore

Solution: Singapore should just be a gentleman and offer to pay more realistic, up-to-date, market prices for the water. We don't have to revoke the Water Agreements, just review it. Singapore is now paying RM0.03 per thousand gallons of raw water. It's not a matter of money for both sides. It's a matter of principle. Singapore can afford to pay higher rates, and Malaysia can afford to forgo the extra revenue. But if Singapore refuses to budge, then Malaysia should drop the issue and just wait for the agreements to expire in 2011 and 2061, because an agreement is an agreement. It's a pretty clear issue. I don't know why it has become so muddied.

Issue #2: The use of Malaysian airspace by the Singapore air force

Solution: Malaysia has so much sky, we should allow Singaporean air force planes to fly over -- just charge a toll for it. All SAF planes should be installed with an EAP (electronic airspace pricing) device, and the toll will be automatically deducted every time they fly past the virtual gantries. Beep beep, Ka-ching! I'd put the honourable Malaysian Works Minister in charge of the toll system. I'm sure we can keep the toll charges reasonable.

Issue #3: The development of KTM Bhd land in Singapore

Solution: Malaysia should just sell it back to Singapore at a good price, plus a premium, if Singapore is generous enough. I don't understand why Malaysia needs to own real estate in Singapore when there is more than enough back home. Yeah, right.

Issue #4: The new bridge to replace the Causeway

Solution: Take one of the blueprints of the Putrajaya bridges, increase the height and stretch the length, add a railway line and water pipeline, and build it next to the Causeway. When the bridge is done, demolish the Causeway. As long as it's not a crooked bridge, I'm fine.

By the way, here's my current favourite bridge.

Issue #5: The early withdrawal of Central Provident Fund contributions by Malaysians working in Singapore

Solution: I'm not so clear on this issue. As far as I know, only citizens and Permanent Residents of Singapore have to contribute to the CPF. So, Malaysians who hold Singaporean PR status should be prepared to contribute to the CPF. That's the rule. As long as the same rules apply to everyone, it's not an issue to me. Does an Indonesian with Singapore PR also have to contribute to the CPF and cannot withdraw it before the age of 55? Of course, Singapore could choose to be kind and allow Malaysians to withdraw their CPF early. Life is short mah. Got more money means can spend more at Jalan Kebun (a.k.a. Orchard Road) lor. Then can increase velocity of money and create multiplier effect on economy. U happy, I happy, everybody happy happy.


DarthVader said...

I do share the same sense of joy to see Malaysia and Singapore embrace in a new round of friendship. Although both countries share a common and deep seated bond that most others can only envy (save US and Britain), there seem to be a large number of people who are more keen to fuel the animosity.

The airspace and KTM issues do appear to be motivated by ego, although it didn't help that sometime in 1993, some dolt from the SAF broke the sound barrier as his jet sped through the skies over Subang Jaya. I heard it well enough on that day.

So, perhaps with egos set aside, some serious concessions can be made by both sides. Disputes reclamation lands, expelling the Singaporean team from the Malaysia Cup (while allowing Brunei to stay), catching Singaporean cars with tinted windows (anyone noticed the totally dark car windows from Tahiland..?) all seem pretty childish.

After 50 years of independence, is time to be united and move together to face the global challenges ahead.

HL said...

Agreed. But egos are often harder than titanium.

You meant Thailand, right?