Competition between Singapore, Malaysia will 'help us grow even faster': Mahathir
SINGAPORE: Competition between Singapore and Malaysia will “help us grow even faster”, said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Dec 6).
“Malaysia and Singapore are like twins, except maybe the elder twin is a little bit bigger than the younger one,” said Dr Mahathir in a Facebook post.
“As with most countries, there will be differences and there will be competition between us. However it will help us grow even faster.”
He also thanked Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for receiving him on his visit to Singapore during the ASEAN summit in November, where he also used the twin analogy to describe Singapore-Malaysia ties.
Dr Mahathir’s social media post came as Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced on Thursday that Singapore was extending its port limits off Tuas.
Singapore and Malaysia are locked in a maritime dispute following Kuala Lumpur’s extension of the Johor Bahru port limits, which Singapore says encroaches into its waters.
Mr Khaw said that there had been 14 intrusions by Malaysian vessels into Singapore’s territorial waters off Tuas in the past two weeks, prompting Singapore to extend its port limits in response to the “recent provocative developments”.
Dr Mahathir on Wednesday had denied that Malaysia had violated Singapore’s border, a claim that Singapore has since refuted.
Singapore and Malaysia are also in a dispute about airspace over southern Johor. On Tuesday, Malaysia said it intends to take back control of the airspace managed by Singapore since 1974, amid friction over a flight path to Seletar Airport.
Since a change of government put Dr Mahathir back in power in May, some bilateral issues between the countries have resurfaced with Dr Mahathir saying that he wants to renegotiate a water agreement struck in 1962.
A planned high-speed rail project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore was also deferred after Malaysia reviewed several mega projects approved by the previous Malaysian government.