Malaysia, Singapore: Moving Past Legacy Issues

Updated On: May 26, 2009

In a visit to Singapore, Malaysian Prime Minister  Najib Razak and his Singaporean counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, agreed that both countries would step up bilateral cooperation.

"We both agreed that the legacy issues should not be in the way of us moving ahead," Najib said at a joint press conference.

At the same conference, Lee, who describes the state of bilateral relations as ‘warm’, said: "I think we both recognise this... there is much, much more to gain from productive and co-operative arrangements rather than allowing these things to hamper and even dampen the relationship."

Both leaders agreed that their foreign ministers should meet in a bid to resolve outstanding issues.

Since the ejection of Singapore from the Malaysian federation in August 1965, bilateral issues such as the price of water that Malaysia sells to Singapore, Malaysian-owned railway lands in Singapore, and Singapore’s military access to Malaysian airspace have been left unresolved, and are constant sources of disagreement.

Malaysia's ambitions to replace one of two causeways with a new bridge triggered intense friction between the two neighbours, and the plans were dropped in 2006.

Najib said both Lee and he who were relatively still young were from the new generation and not part of the previous generation as they should not be encumbered with the baggage of history.

"We should be bold enough, imaginative enough and courageous to represent a new generation of Malaysians and Singaporeans who want this relationship to be a strong, productive and enduring one," Najib said.


AFP, Malaysia, Singapore see new cooperation , 23 May 2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hURRFSe1tKl9q8OyfMDbU...

Bernama, Malaysia, Singapore Relations Can Blossom - Najib , 23 May 2009, http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=413116

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