Thursday, August 23, 2007

Anwar Urges Strong Ties With Singapore

Former Malaysian DPM Anwar believes in close ties with Singapore
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 22 August 2007 1753 hrs

SINGAPORE : Former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim said he strongly believes Malaysia should encourage close relations with its neighbour, Singapore.

From a national perspective, the closer Malaysians are to Singapore, the better for Malaysia.

Mr Anwar made these comments at a seminar on "Lessons Learnt from the Asian Financial Crisis" on Wednesday, organised by the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis had several victims, including the ex-Malaysian deputy PM.

The then Finance Minister's handling of the crisis led to a fallout with Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was premier at that time.

Mr Anwar was sacked in September 1998.

Mr Anwar said Singapore is an important neighbour and any sentiments against the Republic will not be to Malaysia's advantage.

"Sometimes negotiating with the Singaporeans is a very arduous task and I had some experience in that. But we deal with Singaporeans as friends. Why this phobia about past history, and insisting on the half bridge to nowhere, you can find a resolution to the problem," said the former Malaysian deputy PM.

"We can choose to be critical about Singapore, but the problem is not with Singapore. The problem is governance and corruption; it's our foreign policy prescriptions. Playing to the gallery and inciting Malay sentiments against the Singapore Chinese leadership is, to my mind, just insane," he said.

"I said it to the Malaysians in Johor, that we better settle our problems and deal with Singapore as a very important friend and neighbour. We can choose to disagree with them or strongly protest ourselves on some issues, but don't ever make this blunder of inciting sentiments against Singapore, it will not be to our advantage," Mr Anwar added.

Mr Anwar, who is currently advisor to Malaysian opposition party, Keadilan, also spoke of his political role.

"I try to facilitate and... probably try to get the reform agenda, and there is a consensus. But they are right - this is not a personal issue and I don't think the reform agenda is tied to Anwar personally," he said.

Mr Anwar thinks Malaysia's next general election will be held before the end of this year or early next year, so as to deny his right to contest. - CNA /ls

So, will there be another 'traitor of the Malay cause' and 'puppet of the Jews (of the East)' insinuation again?

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