Last Sunday when I posted Najib's 3rd bridge not too far for his true intention I suggested that PM Najib was doing an Edward de Bono to please everyone (or save their faces) – Dr Mahathir, AAB, the Singaporeans – by side stepping the issue of the ‘crooked’ bridge.
Dr Mahathir was the man who, incensed by the Singaporeans recalcitrant response to his original ‘straight’ bridge proposal, did an Edward de Bono as well and conceptualized the ‘crooked’ bridge to have, at least on the Malaysian side of the border, a bridge.
He probably said to himself (as speculated by kaytee wakakaka): “F* those Sings” or “Shaft this curly bridge up yours, Lee”.
The ‘crooked’ bridge is a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually quite a bit of clever (lateral) thinking, where Malaysia’s bridge would ‘meander’ (in order to gain height because of the short span, in order to enable vessels to sail safely under) to join the Singapore part of the Causeway, providing a continuous physical link (inclusive of water supply) between the two nations – the Malaysian part being the bridge and the Singapore part being the old Causeway.
The purported benefit to Malaysia was that the Malaysian part of the Causeway would be removed/dug up to allow sea vessels (on the Malacca Straits side) access to the part of Johore currently blocked by the Causeway.
And in spite of what the AAB government had been at pains to suggest, there's legally nothing Singapore could have done, for the reason the modified physical link would not have denied Singapore any of the facilities it currently enjoy, nor incurred any cost to the tight-a$$ed Sings.
When AAB became PM, there were hints that Singapore had an ally or allies within the Malaysian government who convinced the then-PM to cancel the ‘meandering’ bridge project. Could this have explained the so-called constraints, including suggestions of legal barriers, that the AAB government was sprouting in defence of its decision to abandon the project.
Well, they must have succeeded because many Malaysians believed and still do, the bridge to be a waste of money, and praised the cancellation of the project.
The so-called savings proved to be a furphy, where the cancellation in fact became far more costly than its completion - memang Malaysia Boleh! No wonder the Grand Old Man was livid with rage - lost lots of moolah for nothing as well as lost face (the chess game of ones-upmanship) to the Sings.
The unsubstantiated accusation against Singapore was that the Island State preferred to see the Causeway continuing to limit access from the Malacca Straits to the shores of southern Johore … perhaps for economic/commercial advantage. But I believe the reason would have been a question of "What's in it for us?"
Years ago, when South Africa was ruled by the racist Apartheid government, the white supremacists declared Japanese as ‘honorary whites’ wakakaka (also implying that classification could be removed when the SA government felt like doing so – apparently white supremacist Rhodesia followed the SA's nonsense).
Hmmm, why this non sequitur of white supremacist SA and Japanese in the saga of the ‘crooked’ bridge?
Well, it has to do with Sing.
White supremacist SA and Rhodesia made Japanese ‘honorary whites’ for the sole reason they needed to trade with Japan.
Quite frankly, the Japanese didn’t give a damn about the ‘honorary white’ bull because they considered themselves to be already the Chosen Ones*, descendants of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, superior to all, especially ‘white trash’.
* incidentally it’s amusing the Christian book ‘Handbook of Today’s Religion’ by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart said of Shinto: "The religion of Shinto is in opposition to Christianity. The fact that Shinto in its purest form teaches the superiority of the Japanese people and their land above all others on earth is diametrically opposed to the teaching of the Bible.”
Now, get a lot of the next sentence said, and you may then understand why the Americans would always support an evil oppressive neo-Nazi Israel in its genocidal adventures against the Palestinians. The ‘Handbook of Today’s Religion’ continues:
“According to the Bible, the Jews are God’s chosen people through whom He entrusted His words.”
... basically saying Japanese aren’t God’s chosen people and not entitled to their feelings of superiority, but Jews are, and thus superior - wakakaka!
But the Japanese, being the reputed ‘economic animals’ they were (and probably still are) would trade with anyone, including ‘white trash’ – business is business, and a rand is still a rand.
Back to our bridge story – well, the Sings are like those Japanese, economic animals. They don’t give a sh*t about neighbourliness, muhhibah or kamcheng. The question about Dr Mahathir’s bridge that they would ask themselves would have been, as I've mentioned, “What’s in it for us?”
Malaysian sand? Malayan railway land? Malaysian airspace (for its air force to train in)? Malaysian cabotage (removal of same for the benefit of SIA, Silk Air or Tiger Airline)?
These are languages the Sing government understands. So minus these, Dr Mahathir’s ‘crooked’ bridge was his best response to our uncooperative neighbour.
A wee digression here - in many ways, Tunku Abdul Rahman was right, that our best neighbour was/is still Thailand (regardless of its internal politics, even in the south), because nations like Singapore and Indonesia treat us with less-than-friendliness and sometimes much disrespect, the former with an ruthless eye on economic gains, the latter wanting to be Taiko because of both its size and its inferiority complex, the latter brought about by years of economically erectile dysfunctionality (in comparison with Malaysia).
OK, so in The Malaysian Insider today, Dr M wants Najib to use 'crooked bridge' as bargaining chip.
The news online reported: Dr Mahathir said that since Singapore would only agree to a straight bridge to replace the Causeway if the ban on selling sand was lifted and that considering Johoreans were against the sale, the government’s only option was to build the crooked bridge. […]
Dr Mahathir cited the package of outstanding bilateral issues, including Singapore’s refusal to release CPF contributions to Malaysians, the railway land issue and the low rate in which the island republic pays for water from Malaysia.
“All these issues are in Singapore’s favour and not negotiating better terms because the Johore people refuse to sell sand is like cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face.
Leaving out the rhetoric, he’s actually right, and I like to see Najib come up with another of his de-Bono-ish proposals, wakakaka.