When officials of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE) and the Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGX) met in Kuala Lumpur last Monday, hopes were raised that there could be a breakthrough to resolve the impasse over Malaysian shares formerly traded in Singapore and held by 172,000 individuals.
But reports emanating from the KLSE statement the same day about such a breakthrough quickly dissolved into a war of words between the two stock exchanges with totally conflicting versions as to what actually transpired at the meeting.
The spectacle of the Malaysian and Singapore Governments fighting "cats-and-dogs" over their joint disputes has become quite routine, but the public from both countries must be disappointed at the failure of the two stock exchanges to conduct their discussions to resolve the CLOB issue with greater professionalism.
Instead of helping to resolve the CLOB issue, the Monday meeting between the two stock exchanges had only intensified the dispute, creating even more bad blood between the two countries.
The normalisation of Malaysia-Singapore relations should not be held to ransom by the CLOB dispute. The two governments should set up a joint committee of officials to resolve the CLOB impasse, as the failure to reach an amicable settlement of the dispute does not speak well for ASEAN spirit , solidarity and unity in the new millennium.