High hopes and high expectations
There have been many positive comments on the milestone set by Najib and Hsien Loong and the expectations are high for more cooperations ahead. One big surprise is the reticence coming from the court of Mahathir. Or is he planning a long thesis on how foolish is this Najib move? The Najib magic is a direct slap on Mahathir and he should feel the most pain. During the tussle for power, he was still calling the shot in some ways when Najib was reported to have met him to discuss his future as the next PM of Malaysia. It was like Najib needed his blessing and support for the seat. All that has passed now and the first major international policy made by Najib was to dump all of Mahathir's venom into the sungei. While Mahathir is fuming and planning his next move, the Malaysian paper Sin Chew Daily commented on the diverse path that the two countries have ventured and the gaps that needed to be bridged to move along as equal partners. It summarised the policies of Mahathir and how these have held back Malaysia to its developing status while Singapore is running away in the developed league. It lamented that the lack of competitiveness, efficiency, corruption and racial politics would be difficult problems to surmount as the two countries try to get their acts together and move along as partners. The high hopes and expectations are positive but after 20 plus years of heading in different directions, it is not going to be easy, or can be overcame quickly, to get things on the same footings. It will take a long time for the two to be able to operate in the same frequency and enjoy the fruits of their new endeavours. It will demand a lot of patience and statemanship to bridge the gaps and set aside decades of bad blood and perceptions of each other. The people of the two countries can only hope that it is not a flash in the pan move and the subsequent leaders would be dedicated to keep the momentum going. Would this be another high hope?