Photo of Lee Hsien Loong and Mahathir from Facebook

Singapore’s dictator Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was proven to be a poor diplomatic negotiator again yesterday (May 19), with his meeting with newly-elected Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad cut short to only 30 minutes. According to Yahoo news, Lee Hsien Loong entered the Perdana Leadership Foundation building in Malaysia Putrajaya at 11am. The two Prime Ministers went through a number of photo-taking sessions, had a short chat and Lee Hsien Loong was shown his way out of the building by 11.30am. Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching flew and took over 8 hours including travel preparations to meet the Malaysian PM, only to be sent out in 30 mintues.

When questioned by the media why he was unable to hold a conversation over important bilateral projects like the High Speed Rail and cross-border MRT, Lee Hsien Loong embarrassingly answered that his meeting was “only a courtesy call”:

“The meeting was warm and fruitful, and there was an exchange of views regarding what was on each party’s mind. The visit was a courtesy call to send Dr Mahathir his good wishes, and that no substantive bilateral issues were discussed. the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project was not discussed during the visit.”

PM Lee Hsien Loong also said that he wants to continue the private “retreats” – where the two Prime Ministers would wine and dine lavishly in Lee Hsien Loong-hosted residence – with PM Mahathir, as he did with the former PM Najib Razak:

“I hope that both countries would also be able to continue the regular retreats which Singapore and Malaysia’s prime ministers had been holding.”

However, the Malaysian PM who earn about S$6,700 (20,000RM) a month is a humble figure who is quite unlike his corrupted predecessor Najib Razak and Lee Hsien Loong who draws S$183,300 a month. It is unlikely Mahathir will accept the corrupted offer.

Lee Hsien Loong also met up with the ruling party leader Anwar Ibrahim, but the latter did not talk much with the Singapore PM. The PAP Prime Minister said he asked Anwar to write a book for Singapore, but Anwar responded politically:

“I met Anwar Ibrahim and his wife, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, to re-establish the personal link with him. We had a general conversation on how Mr Anwar saw developments in Malaysia, his views on what has been happening, and what his plans were. I said to him, he’s travelling to many countries in the world. If he wants time to reflect, to write, perhaps to detach himself a little bit for a while, we welcome him to Singapore, come to one of our institutes and write a book. So he said he would consider that.”

According to Mahathir Mohamad, all bilateral agreements with Singapore will be reviewed, including the High Speed Rail and MRT line. An hour after the meeting, Malaysia Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali said he has been assigned to review the mega projects.  The HSR will be put back to the negotiation stage:

“Certainly we need to renegotiate certain terms. We want to see whether the whole process was transparent or otherwise. So it is my duty to get a team and look and sit down and discuss. And we may have to renegotiate all these projects.”