Singaporeans 'should be made to pay for bad behaviour': Commentary by Malaysian paper columnist triggers netizens

Malaysian commentator Mergawati Zulfakar took umbrage at several Singaporeans who had "behaved badly" in Malaysia recently.
PHOTO: Screengrab/The Star

Did the Causeway reopening lead to the return of 'ugly Singaporeans'? This columnist from Malaysian newspaper The Star certainly thinks so.

In a commentary piece published on Sunday (April 10), Mergawati Zulfakar took exception at several Singaporeans who had "behaved badly" in Malaysia of late. 

These incidents include Singaporeans chalking up traffic offences, those who fuelled their cars with Ron95 petrol, and a man allegedly caught peeing by the sidewalk.

In her commentary, Mergawati wrote that Malaysia had spent billions on petrol subsidies which are meant only for residents. 

She also cited figures from Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department that 108,757 outstanding summonses were recorded by the police involving traffic offences committed by Singaporeans since 2016.

Singaporeans have also taken advantage of law enforcement in Malaysia that "is obviously very much lacking", Mergawati argued. 

She added: "But with more vehicles and buildings equipped with video cameras and CCTV systems in Malaysia, perhaps it will create 'fear' among Singaporeans that they are 'being watched', just as they are back home.

"We cannot allow Singapore kiasu-ness to creep in, and they should be made to pay for bad behaviour."

Excerpts from Mergawati Zulfakar's column. PHOTO: Screengrab/The Star

When the article was shared in the Reddit Singapore thread, some netizens accused the Malaysian columnist of being "salty", or jealous.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Reddit/Singapore

Others criticised Mergawati for "creating a negative impact" between Singaporeans and Malaysians.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/The Star

But a netizen, who said that he's a Singaporean, felt that the article did "make a point".

"Some responsibility lies with us to ensure that we don't give them a reason to say we are 'ugly", he said.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Reddit/Singapore

On April 1, Malaysia and Singapore fully reopened their land borders, which were closed for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tens of thousands of fully vaccinated people have since travelled between the two countries without quarantine or Covid-19 tests.

chingshijie@asiaone.com