In my posting A Bridge Too Far - Act of Insurrection! I suggested that Najib has lost big face when he had his word of authority severely undermined. Najib had been the minister who warned Singapore to join the bridge construction not later than a certain date because after that, the bridge would no longer be a straight bridge but instead would curve to meet the Singapore end of the causeway.
Having asserted his authority on that, surely his credibility would have taken a nosedive when the PM suddenly cancelled the construction of the bridge.
I mentioned my doubts at PM AAB’s assertion that he cancelled the construction because of the sand and airspace issues. I find it rather hard to swallow those reasons. I noted that while PM AAM subsequently mentioned the stickiness of legal issues, Mahathir, Syed Hamid and Najib all commented on legality as a non issue.
Today Matthias Chang, the former political secretary for Chinese affairs to Dr Mahathir, and a practising lawyer, revealed that former Singapore premier Goh Chock Tong had agreed Malaysia could build the bridge in two letters published by the Singapore government regarding the water supply issue in 2002.
Chang said he could not understand why Singapore was now bringing in the airspace and sand issues into the negotiation. And he put the entire blame on Syed Hamid, our Foreign Minister for messing up the negotiations. But hang on one ding dong minute, didn’t Syed Hamid said all the while that it was legally OK for the bridge to continue?
But more importantly we must listen to Chang’s query: Why did the Singapore government raise the issues of sand & airspace when it was clear their former PM, and thus the entire cabinet, had already OK-ed the bridge 4 years ago during Dr Mahathir’s time.
Had they by any chance been advised to raise it, say, by someone on good terms with Singapore and who wanted to trap Najib? Sheer speculation of course, but consider it as nothing more than an idle conspiracy theory to attempt answering this weird question.
And what surprises me had been Matthias Chang calling for the sacking of Syed Hamid, whom he criticised as ‘incompetent’ and called a ‘Big Napoleon’, in a reference to PM AAB’s complaint that there were Little Napoleons in his government [which incidentally I had speculated as an internal UMNO manoeuvre]. Chang daringly told the media to publish in full his comments, which Malaysiakini gladly has done so.
What Chang said was unprecedented - for a Chinese who’s not in the opposition, to openly condemn an UMNO minister as ‘incompetent’, and to call for his sacking. Totally unprecedented!
Chang even said he was speaking in his personal capacity. For a layperson like KTemoc, I can only hope and pray that Chang had received some ‘blessings’ to be so brutally blunt and critical of a Malay minister, because it’s dangerous for a Chinese to openly blast an UMNO minister.
In fact Chang said: “We can’t tolerate big Napoleons if they don’t do their jobs, he should resign as foreign minister and chief negotiator.”
BTW, Chang said that the current PM AAB was not at fault over the matter, as he was surrounded advisors who provided the wrong advice.
A Bridge Too Far - Act of War!