Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Malaysia, province of Singapore

I read this Reuters article with some humour today. On first read, it may seem rather benign and inconsequential. In fact, it even sounds rather good as a sign of improving ties between neighbours and Singapore being neighbourly and helping us out. Wait a minute! This just sounds too good to be true! However, on further reading, it starts to look very weird and without anyone realising it, we're now Malaysia, province of Singapore! Haha!

This news comes after the vacation meeting that both our PMs had on Langkawi. At the end, they had announced a bunch of co-operations between the two countries. Quoting the article:

"Singapore has made an assessment and decided it is fundamentally good for us if this project takes off," and "It will complement Singapore," said the S'porean PM.
The Iskandar Development Region (IDR) is Malaysia's new centralised economic development programme. It is designed to attract a lot of foreign investment. As such, the government have removed certain restrictions on investment in the IDR such as minimum bumi shareholding requirements. So, now S'poreans can buy up as much of the land there as they please without getting a local partner. That isn't that bad at all. Slowly getting rid of the protectionists policies might be a good idea.
"It also envisages passport-free access to parts of the zone for Singaporeans."
Wait a minute! So, S'poreans can come and go as they please between their country and ours? No passport control? Where can like that? That's giving up sovereignity. It's one thing to allow foreigners to buy up property without too much of a protectionist policy. It's quite another to allow foreigners to come and go as they please, especially when that freedom is not reciprocated.
"The IDR will be the icing on the cake. Singapore can use the IDR as a test bed for a lot of Singapore's manufacturing operations,"
So, this helps our neighbour solve their problems with lack of land! Yea! They can now come over to Johor to buy up as much land as they want. Then, they can shift their low cost manufacturing operations over, which are occupying too much island land. And to add icing to the cake, they can come and go as they please to the IDR. Super! Next thing you know, they'll start voting in our local elections! (Oops, we don't have local elections.) Let's just make things easy and sell them the piece of land to do as they please. Goodness knows that they need it.

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