Warming ties? Economically appropriate lah. 

Should the two smaller nations in ASEAN be better friends? I meant my Malaysia and Singapore which are surrounded by Thailand (nearly 70 million population) or Indonesia (over 260 million population) or even the nearby Philippines (103 million population). Of course, we are some distance away from being best friends but I think we are improving. Joint statements help tremendously. Here’s one latest Leaders Retreat Joint Statement from both prime ministers. In brief, RTS is one and many more items were sort of agreed too. The reason for a better relationship? One very key component is always economic. Working together meant SMEs in Singapore gets a cheaper manufacturing base which are really just half an hour away and any Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) from overseas can even be jointly attracted. Malaysian side meanwhile gets more job opportunities.

It is quite common for questions such as ‘Do you have enough of the top tier R&D talents? What about a manufacturing base which is low cost enough and yet supported by good logistics and enough land to expand plus having enough good housing for the new population of working professionals?’ By the way, the only reason why it’s expensive to operate in Singapore is the housing part. It’s not the cheap hawker food in their extensive number of food courts. The top foreign talents may be willing to eat in the clean foodcourts but staying in a HDB flat without facilities would be a different thing altogether. If the expats are Japanese, then golf courses are a must during the weekends. This is especially if they came to this part of the world from other advanced countries around the world. The answer is pretty clear. Working together is the better choice instead of becoming a competitor.

Here’s one latest one which should help alleviate some of the jam between JB and SG. As per reported in the article in the Malay Mail Online, Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office, in a statement yesterday, said the commercial vehicle levy at Linkedua will be reduced to RM50 for vehicles entering and leaving Malaysia beginning Feb 13, down from the current rate of RM100 to RM200. Immediately, we get a response from Singapore’s Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan. He said Singapore will match the reduction. “This will take effect from 1 April 2018. Hopefully, this will encourage some road users to shift out of the peak-hour period.” Khaw said that the initiative to reduce the Causeway congestion was discussed between the prime ministers of Malaysia and Singapore at the Leaders’ Retreat last month.

Good start.Hopefully, this reduction is enough to encourage users to use Linkedua instead. There are also news about a further discussion on the single border checkpoint too. Still alittle premature perhaps. Here’s that news in StraitsTimes SG. Happy following.

written on 10 Feb 2018

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