But I keep checking FaceBook and finding uninformed comments about SG, and Mahathir.
I guess I could IGNORE them. After all, stupid comments about untrue things does not change reality.
I mean, Brexit was a fluke, right?
And Trump only became POTUS because of the Russians involvement, right?
Or maybe stupidity can warp reality?
Anyway, here are some of the comments or questions that dragged me into this post.
Mahathir scrapped the HSR. SG must be panicking!
No, we are not. (Quote from FB)
SG has experience dealing with MY. Do you think we did not consider this contingency?In comparison, the shorter, non-High Speed RTS between SG and Johor was planned for completion first in 2019, then revised to 2022, and most recently to 2024. And this is a SHORT link between SG and Johor, that is not a high speed rail. Initial planning was started in 2014. So this will take 10 years from planning.
First the plan is a 10 year plan (made in 2016). The HSR was supposed to start construction in 2020. To be completed by 2026. Do you think we did not consider that this is a VERY OPTIMISTIC timeline by MY?
Even if Najib had been returned to power, we would not be surprised if the HSR completion had been pushed back 5 years, or even 10 years.
And the HSR which cuts across 4 states, and will be a High Speed Rail will be built in 6 years? And Singapore signed this agreement? You can be sure we would have been sceptical, even if we kept our scepticism to ourselves.
Second, in 20 years (the more realistic timeline for the construction of the HSR), there would have been about 5 GEs in MY. What is the probability that there would be a change of govt and that the new govt would be less "cooperative"? Even if BN hung onto power, different BN PMs can have different position in terms of cooperating with SG. Case in point: Dr M.
Did you think we expect Najib to live forever? Or survive politically forever? in 2016, he was already in his 2nd term, and over 60 years old.
So this contigency - a MY govt that may be hostile to SG - has already been factored into a multi-year project that will extend over [several] election [cycles]. We are prepared for someone like Mahathir coming to power and replacing the Najib Administration. That it is Dr M himself coming back was probably an interesting development, but not a substantial surprise.
Third, the other thing about MY is that they don't stick to their word. Or rather, we will have to be very firm to hold them to their word. And if they can, they will try to get out of their legal obligations. So even if we have signed an agreement, even if we have included penalties for breaking the agreement, we would still have to make contingency plans for WHEN they break their word.
Did you know or suspect any of the above about MY? If you do, you can be sure the SG govt also does. And if the SG govt does, you can be sure they have scenarios for all of the above. Maybe not exactly, but the general situation.
Mahathir seems to be picking on Singapore - he scrapped the HSR, but did nothing for the China-related mega projects like the ECRL, etc.
Maybe he is. I suspect he might, but the evidence isn't clear so far. Certainly he has taken his usual potshots at SG when he can. Perhaps this is just a bad habit. He has also overstated the cost of the HSR - RM110b - whereas the projection by the Najib administration was RM50 - 60 billion. Of course Najib could have been low-balling it. But equally possible, in the absence of any transparency or factual support for his assertion, Mahathir could also be hyping up the costs to sell the idea of scrapping the project.
Malaysia is asking its citizens to donate to the govt to solve the debt.
RM1 trillion. 32 million citizens. Each citizen's share is... RM31,250 (approximately).
That's for every Man. Woman. And child.
Does SG need to have a donation fund for Singaporeans to contribute to the country?
Actually, SG already has a very efficient system. In this purely voluntary system (hence similar to MY donation), people freely offer to give money to the govt and they even tell the govt what is the maximum that they are willing to give.
After calculating what they need, the govt then tells all the people how much donation they would be making.
BUT not every would-be donor is successful. Those who pledge amounts lower than a cut-off (which varies at every bid) will not be asked to donate (because, obviously, they are less well-off), and they leave sad that they were not able to contribute to the govt.
To reward the generous donors who have pledged vast amounts of money (in the tens of thousands), the govt give them each a certificate allowing them to get a car for their troubles.
In the MY system, I don't think you get anything.
But Malaysia gets FREE World Cup!
So apparently, Malaysia's govt has got corporate sponsors to fully cover the costs of broadcasting the World Cup soccer games.
Which got people asking, "so why can't Singaporeans get to watch the games for free too? Lousy PAP govt!"
You run a small business. You have a rich customer. You KNOW he is rich. He asks you to sponsor his daughter's wedding cake. What do you say?Also football is the new opiate of the people.
You have a regular customer that recently had a string of personal crises. He lost his job, his wife is very sick. And in the midst of all this, his daughter is getting married. He asks you to sponsor his daughter's wedding cake. What do you say?
One of the above is analogous to SG. The other is analogous to MY.
Also, SG median income is about $3500. MY's median income is about $700. We earn about 5 times more than a Malaysian. In terms of annual salary (assuming 12 months), our annual salary is $42,000. The Malaysian is $8,400. And the World Cup is only once every 4 years, so the income over 4 years is $168,000 for the Singaporean. And $33,600 for the Malaysian. And the World Cup package is about $120. You think with the $135k difference in salary, the Singaporean can afford the $120?
Bonus: Minister Khaw says costs is still being incurred for the HSR and until SG receives a formal notification from MY that they are abandoning the HSR project, the work will continue.
Singapore will exercise its rights to compensation should HSR be cancelled: Khaw
I can't believe how many times this was asked by different commenters.
It's all about legality.
We don't make decisions based on media reports. Even Mahathir said he will formally inform SG. Until there is a formal, official notice, if we were to stop, WE would technically be in breach of the agreement. Perhaps this is his plan to reduce compensation. Show that SG was the first to breach the agreement, so SG has to PAY Malaysia compensation.I love how... insecure Singaporeans are about their leaders. They are always ready to assume they (SG leaders) are stupid, incompetent, and naive.
Or they assume that they are smarter than our political leaders, that they have more common sense than our leaders, that they can do a better job than our leaders.
So... maybe it's a superiority complex.
Bonus 2a: Singapore should waive compensation for the HSR cancellation, lah! After all we very helpful when our neighbours need help right? Like tsunami or earthquake, we send help. Never ask for compensation. Now Malaysia needs help. We should help. No need to ask for compensation.
There is a difference between providing humanitarian aid in a natural disaster, and waiving compensation for a breach of contract. One is an act of mercy, the other, idiocy. One has no moral hazard, the other invites moral hazards.A natural disaster is a natural disaster. If we provide aid, it is not likely that the govt will deliberately engineer a natural disaster to get more free aid from us. There is no moral hazard.
A breach of contract is a deliberate act. If we waive compensation in this case, then it will create a moral hazard - other agreements could be signed which the other party has no intent or ability to perform, and then they come to us and say, "sorry, things are bad. We cannot proceed. Can waive damages?" We are inviting others to take advantage of us.
Bonus 2b: Singapore should negotiate for an extension of the water agreement instead of asking for compensation.
First of all, this falls within the category of "Singapore should BUY or LEASE islands from Indonesia/Land from Malaysia, to develop for our needs". It assumes that Malaysia has NO national interest, No national pride, and No increasing need for water in the future.
Bonus 3: "Lucky, Mahathir never say want to review Water Agreement."