Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bermain bola

At last, after 20 long years, Malaysia has come out to play ball. PM Najib Razak has agreed to move on the issue of its land at Tanjong Pagar, and the stretch of land that its railway track occupies. Singapore has been generous, allowing an unequal 60% share of whatever is eventually developed on these land to Malaysia, taking the balance 40%. It isn't clear who will develop these land - Singapore or Malaysia developers, how any contract will be awarded, etc. If it were left to Singapore, I wouldn't be worried about transparency, but if it were left to Malaysia...

The other good news is that SMRT will be extending its Mass Rapid Transit network into Johor, making it so much more convenient to cross the Causeway into Malaysia and vice versa. This can only be good for both neighbours. It beats a crooked bridge that some crooked mind cooked up some years ago, and still insists on having it.

The real regret is that this didn't happen earlier, not for a lack of effort on Singapore's side, but intransigence and ego of the power that was in much of those 20 years. But there is a silver lining to it. Because of the constant threat of cutting the water supply to Singapore, it decided to invest into water technology and maximizing on the use of all bodies of water on and around the island. Singapore is well on its way to water self-sufficiency, and is even donating its water processing facility in Johor to Malaysia.

In spite of Singapore's puny size, it can be generous when it needs to be. Only some narrow-minded people cannot and will not see it, even to this day.

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