Today (3 March), Associate Professor of political science at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Ian Chong Ja shared a Facebook post encouraging Singaporeans to be more empathetic towards the political turmoil in Malaysia.
The brief post shared by the associate professor explains that a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Malaysia would only bring more good to Singaporeans even if it was for self-interest reasons. He reiterated that long-lasting and strong political ties with Singapore’s immediate neighbouring country only presents itself with more opportunities, cooperation, investment, and trade.
Dr Chong, whose comments on political developments in the region have been heavily quoted by the media, noted that good and strong political ties between both the countries would add to the attractiveness of Singapore as it is situated in a stable and more promising region to potential external partners.
The associate professor recapitulated that it is incumbent that Singaporeans wish Malaysians well in their endeavours given Singapore’s position as a regional gateway that allows access to all Southeast Asian countries as well as being the closest country to Malaysia geographically.
The Facebook post included a number of links comprising Singapore’s business ties, investments, and exports with Malaysia. The associate professor also provided a link to a 2016 article published by The Straits Times entitled “Nearly 300,000 people walk between Malaysia, Singapore daily: Malaysian Immigration Dept”.
He also highlighted the close working relationship between the two countries and people, adding that this bond of working together brings growth and shared prosperity to each country.
Dr Chong’s overall post is in response to the change in leadership in Malaysia after Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was sworn in as the 8th Malaysian Prime Minister on Sunday (1 March), following the resignation of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad which ultimately lead to the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s appointment came following a political tug of war that had intensified between Dr Mahathir and his Pakatan anointed successor PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, with both claiming they had majority support in parliament to form a government at different times.
Netizens react to Muhyiddin Yassin’s appointment as Malaysian PM with apprehension
Netizens expressed strong views as they believe that the appointment of the new premier is nothing more than a traitorous act.
Netizen Justin Tan – a Malaysian currently residing in Singapore – said that Malaysia is not pleading with the new PM to be saved. According to him, the Malaysian premier’s appointment is an undemocratic act that “took away the people’s mandate”.
Singaporean Facebook user Shah Omar believed that Tan Sri Muhyiddin‘s appointment was an act of betrayal to the former premier Dr Mahathir as he commented, “Sir. There is no honour amongst thieves. There is no integrity amongst that betray their leaders. You are sleeping with the enemy.”
The sentiment was shared by a few others.
Meanwhile, there were also those who mocked the current political front in Malaysia by making comparisons to Singapore. Online user Ridzwan Sarwal made a cynical remark as he moots that PM Lee has a new best friend in current Malaysian PM Muhyiddin and therefore could forget former PM Najib bin Razak.
There are also online users who have expressed doubts over the competency of the premier. They opined that his real intent will be apparent in his cabinet line-up as to who he intends to protect – the country or the crooks.