Remember the scenic bridge that appeared as if it wasn't going anywhere, but suddenly a plan was revealed to twist and turn it until it reaches and joins up with the Singapore portion of the existing causeway – unless of course, Singapore builds its end of the bridge which will then negate the necessity for Malaysia to have the bridge meet Singapore's causeway. It would then become a ‘normal’ straight bridge.
Anyhow, assuming Singapore doesn't want to come to the bridge party, Malaysia has announced that once that's achieved, its own part of the causeway would be demolished, purportedly to make way for the free flow of the seas.
Of course, it's just a coincidence that the current causeway linking Malaysia to Singapore carries the water pipeline from Johore to the island, supplying 50% of Singapore's needs. Demolishing and digging up the Malaysian part of the causeway would naturally affect the pipeline as well.
"Not so fast" cried out Singapore. Its second Minister for Foreign Affairs Raymond Lim asserted that international law requires mutual consent by affected parties for any change that affects both parties.
He said: "Singapore does not accept that Malaysia has a right to demolish its side of the causeway unilaterally and replace it with a half-bridge."
He complained that Malaysia's proposal to replace the causeway with the bridge would be costly, without any significant benefit to Singapore. However, Singapore being Singapore, it is prepared to consider Malaysia's proposal if there is a, ahem, 'balance of benefits'.
This may be translated into "you want something for me, then give me something in return." Competent and efficient as the nation is, and there’s no question about that, Singapore is of course still an opportunistic mercenary whore.
It eyes Malaysia's sand (& earth, rocks, granite, etc) for its development, and our airspace for its fighter and attack military jets like the F-16s and F-15s to zoom over [and take intelligent snapshots of Malaysia's vital points for its war planning].
Raymond Lim made the quid pro quo offer in the spirit of 'good neighbourliness' [mind you, he wouldn't have said anything about the intelligent photos]. I wonder why its 'good neighbourliness' was markedly missing when it came to the issue of water price readjustments.
Singapore has unconscionably tied Malaysia down to some ridiculous old price that was worked out when the British Raj was still around, sipping whisky stengahs and BGAs at Raffles Hotel.
If Singapore had exhibited more goodwill and less parsimonious tight-assed legality in the re-negotiation of the water price, none of this would have happened. The water price was way way unrealistic; Singapore knew/knows that, but being the kiasu Singapore, it just had to penny-pinch while legally (or more likely, intellectually) twist Malaysia’s nose.
Singaporeans, especially its ministers, have the LKY syndrome, an obsessive compulsion to be intellectually superior to others all the time.
Now, Lim has the brazen cheek to cite a case in 2003 in which Malaysia asked the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea to stop Singapore from undertaking reclamation work within Singapore territory as evident that where there would be any change affecting both parties, mutual consent would be necessary.
He reminded us: "Malaysia's action was guided by the principle that any major work in the Johore Strait, even if done within the sovereign territory of Singapore, could affect Malaysia."
Why then didn't Singapore observe this ruling in the first place without the need for Malaysia to take the case to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea?
(1) Singaporean Air Bridge for Malaysian Broken Bridge
(2) Bridge to Nowhere going Somewhere!