Decisions on KL-S'pore ties made collectively

WITHOUT the benefit of knowing how decisions are made at the highest level in Singapore, veteran Malaysian diplomat Kadir Mohamad has taken liberties to make unwarranted statements, such as the one alleging that Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew "dictated the form and substance of relations with Malaysia over the past 50 years" ("Bilateral problems not all Singapore's fault"; last Friday).

Having been involved in the management of bilateral relations during the six years I was the High Commissioner of Singapore to Malaysia (1997-2002), I can firmly say that all decisions pertaining to this relationship were collective decisions, taken after wide consultations.

Of course, given his long familiarity with the issues involved, Mr Lee's views were given due weightage. Once a decision was taken, the principle of collective responsibility prevailed.

Tan Sri Kadir also said that Mr Lee "had personal scores to settle with Malaysian leaders".

Again, he is ignorant of or not privy to the extra mile that Mr Lee took to build a relationship based on good neighbourliness and mutual benefit.

As former Malaysian prime minister Abdullah Badawi has graciously pointed out, it takes two to tango.

It was only after Tun Abdullah's assumption of office that an acrimonious chapter in the bilateral relationship was brought to a close. K. Kesavapany

High Commissioner of Singapore to Malaysia (1997 to 2002)

This article was first published on Feb 09, 2015.
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