Ever since Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad started taking up the reins to lead the new Malaysian government after defeating the 61-year administration led by former premier Najib Razak in a historical election, he had been taking the heat from the neighbouring, republic government of Singapore.
Last year November, Chief Minister of Johor Osman Sapian confirmed the construction of a third bridge linking Singapore and Malaysia to “solve traffic congestion at both entry points (of the Causeway)”, one of the mega projects proposed by Dr Mahathir during his first stint under Barisan National.
Back in 2003 before his 22-year tenure came to an end, Dr Mahathir announced that Malaysia would build its own half of the six-lane, S-shaped bridge even if Singapore refused to demolish its half of the Causeway. This project was halted later on by Dr Mahathir’s successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Last week on Thursday (21 March), Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong posted his support in regards to Dr Mahathir’s recent remarks on his official Facebook fan page, MParader.
During a Q&A session at the Invest Malaysia meeting on Tuesday, Dr Mahathir asserted that Singapore and Malaysia need “at least three to four more bridges” to ensure smoother border flow. He alluded to Penang’s third link to the mainland and since Singapore’s traffic is more in comparison to Penang, he “does not understand” Singapore’s objection of the project.
“Mahathir wants to build more bridges between Malaysia and Singapore. Their cost-benefits should be studied. In the meantime, let us start building more political, goodwill bridges between leaders, Members of Parliament and our two peoples,” he said.
“Our two peoples have grown increasingly apart since Separation, and successive generations will find each other more unfamiliar. I favour closer and stronger links between Malaysia and Singapore, both physical and political. We are neighbours, and forever will be,” Mr Goh added.
Goh’s statement was made following recent bilateral conflicts between Malaysia and Singapore including the airspace dispute over Seletar Airport, the revision of the water supply prices, and the maritime dispute, to name a few.