(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The Malaysian
and Singapore Governments seem set on another new round of mutual bashing
and recrimination, with the Singapore Foreign Minister, S. Jayakumar giving
Malaysia one month to produce legal arguments to operate its customs, immigration
and quarantine (CIQ) facilities at the Tanjong Pagar railway station
in the republic while the Malaysian Foreign Minister, Datuk Syed
Hamid Albar responding with Malaysia’s position that all outstanding
Singapore, including the dispute over the Tanjong Pagar Immigration facilities, be settled as a package as agreed by the two countries earlier.
While the Ministers of both governments may enjoy the publicity and even plaudits from their respective constituencies for periodically running down or denigrating each other when one dispute after another flares up in the media, I dare say substantial sections of the ordinary people of Malaysia and probably Singapore are quite weary at the prospect of another diplomatic row between two governments representing two closest neighbours in ASEAN, making nonsense of the much-vaunted ASEAN spirit and solidarity.
The majority of the ordinary people of Malaysia and Singapore
want both countries, as represented by the two governments, to maintain
close and proper relations rather than continually confronting each other
with hammer and tongs.
DAP therefore calls on the two foreign ministers of Malaysia and Singapore to stop conducting Malaysia-Singapore relations and bilateral discussions/negotiations through the media and to have immediate meetings to resolve outstanding differences between the two countries.
If the Ministers of the two governments cannot resolve their differences through negotiations, then the two governments should consider submitting their disputes to an international mediation or arbitration commission which can be set up under ASEAN or some other international framework, to set an example for the civil settlement of disputes among neighbouring nations.