(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Malaysian MPs of all parties, in a rare show of unity, have supported my motion yesterday to debate the latest strain in the Malaysia-Singapore relationship resulting from the Malaysian Customs, Immigration and Quarantine dispute in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore.
Barisan Nasional MPs have told me that they support my urgent, definite public importance motion to adjourn the House to discuss the latest developments in the Malaysia-Singapore relationship, except for the last paragraph, which reads:
"However, in view of the increasing number of issues which are likely to set Malaysia and Singapore on a path of conflict and confrontation, and in order to help defuse a new round of tensions and bad blood between the two countries, Parliament should formally invite the Singapore Parliament to a Malaysia-Singapore Parliamentary Conference with parliamentary delegations from both countries fully mandated to seek solutions to the CIQ issue and other outstanding Malaysia-Singapore issues."
In order to achieve a Parliamentary consensus on the issue of Malaysia-Singapore relations, I announced the withdrawal of this last paragraph so that the rest of the motion could become the consensus of the Malaysian Parliament representing all political parties, whether government or opposition.
The rest of my motion reads:
"Immediately after the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Manila last week to show the world the greater togetherness which ASEAN countries have forged after three decades of the the regional organisation, the latest spat between Singapore and Malaysia over the moving of the CIQ checkpoint of the two countries from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands is most unseemly and unnecessary.
"The majority of Malaysians and Singaporeans would want the two governments to resolve not only the CIQ issue, but a number of other outstanding issues, amicably without further straining Malaysia-Singapore relations, whether at the people-to-people or government-to-government level, as it does not speak well for good neighbourliness and over three decades of ASEAN spirit and solidarity for Malaysia and Singapore to be at each other's throats as if they have always been implacable enemies.
"If there is a breakdown of government-to-government relations, may be the two Parliaments of Malaysia and Singapore should attempt a rapprochment and an amicable settlement of the outstanding disputes between the two countries, with full mandates given to the Parliamentary delegations of both countries to fully explore and reach a new consensus to build a new Malaysia-Singapore relationship where both countries can co-operate closely for the peace, development, democracy, human rights and the creation of a vibrant regional civil society
"It is regrettable that the Singapore Government had not responded to calls for the deferment of its CIQ to Woodlands on August 1 until an amicable settlement on the issue between the two countries have been reached."
At yesterday’s Parliamentary debate, although there were strong criticisms of the Singapore Government for its handling of relations with Malaysia, nonetheless represents the readiness of the Malaysian Parliament to institute a Parliament-to-Parliament level of relationship to"attempt a rapprochment and an amicable settlement of the outstanding disputes between the two countries, with full mandates given to the Parliamentary delegations of both countries to fully explore and reach a new consensus to build a new Malaysia-Singapore relationship where both countries can co-operate closely for the peace, development, democracy, human rights and the creation of a vibrant regional civil society."
The ball is now in the court of the Singapore Parliament to respond to the Malaysian Parliament’s readiness to explore and reach a consensus to build a new Malaysia-Singapore relationship.