According to state media Straits Times yesterday (Sep 4), Malaysia should make upfront payment of the US$125 million penalty. The 153rd-ranking propaganda mouthpiece added that Singapore should not agree to a delay to the High Speed Rail (HSR) project:
“A deal is a deal is a deal. Especially if it concerns a multi-year, multibillion-dollar cross-border project. Hence the latest pronouncements in the Malaysian press – that the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project is to be postponed for two years with no penalty paid by Malaysia – are simply unacceptable. Singapore had already spent $250 million on the project by the end of May and would have spent $300 million by year end. Much of it would be wasted if the project does not proceed. So why should Singapore agree to a delay? If it is out of a desire to preserve good relations, it is only right that Malaysia reciprocates. And it can start by paying part of the financial penalty in advance.”
Straits Times’s “Senior Transport Correspondent” Christopher Tan wrote that Singapore should retain the US$125 million penalty, and refund the pro-rated amount when Malaysia resume the project after the 2-year delay.
Wrecking bilateral diplomacy with Malaysia, the Straits Times writer attacked Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad insinuating that he does not respect the law:
“If the new Malaysian administration respects the rule of law, as it claims to, it should start by respecting deals which were sanctioned by the jurisdictions of both countries. Dr Mahathir has never been a believer of HSR – at least not one which links KL to Singapore. Such a project in various forms has been proposed and discussed for well over 20 years, spanning the time Dr Mahathir was first in power. It would thus be surprising if Kuala Lumpur decides to go ahead with the deal after the two-year postponement.”
Singapore’s state media have in recent months attempting to destabilise the new Malaysian government by posting fake news and unfounded rumours.
The Singapore government sees the new Malaysian government as a threat as they are worried Singaporeans may vote against the PAP dictatorship as Malaysians did against the Najib Razak dictatorship. From High Speed Rail to 1MDB investigation, the Singapore government have been uncooperative and resorting to public dramas in the propaganda newspapers instead of holding private direct talks with Malaysia.