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Singapore and Malaysia work towards strengthening ties amid reasons for tension

Updated On: Jun 22, 2009

Recently, Singapore and Malaysia have faced a slight strain in their ties as opposing views concerning the building of a third bridge to link the island with Johor Baru and the selling of sand to Singapore have been voiced. When MM Lee returned to Singapore, he made it clear that Malaysia’s refusal to sell sand to Singapore was not received well. In his opinion, Singaporean investors would be discouraged from making long term investments in Malaysia unless cooperation and collaboration between the two nations were absolute and complete. In response, parts of the Malaysian government have declared that the sale of sand to Singapore should not be considered. Specifically, UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin is of the opinion that Malaysia should not review its stance on selling sand to Singapore. Malaysian officials such as Mr Shahrir Samad, the Umno parliamentarian for Johor Baru, have said that a third bridge between Malaysia and Singapore would not be beneficial. He, among others, believes that the governments should work towards making transport over existing bridges smoother and more efficient. Amidst such opinions, the Malaysian and Singaporean governments continue to meet in an effort to bring the nations closer together. This week, MM lee visited Kelantan to meet with Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, Kelantan’s chief minister. During their meeting, MM Lee was treated to a tour of Kota Baru and Datuk Nik Aziz commended Singapore’s democratic and anti-corrupt attitudes.

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