Excellent chance for 4G leaders to prove their mettle

In responding to the possible cancellation of the High-Speed Rail project, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that Singapore would study the implications and exercise its rights - including any right to compensation for expenses (S'pore still incurring costs on HSR as it awaits KL clarification: Khaw; June 2).

Malaysia and Singapore are closely linked by both history and the many family relations that span both countries' borders.

While Singapore may have a right to pursue legal action when Malaysia does not fulfil its agreed obligations, the fact remains that the leaders of both countries need to maintain good relations to benefit their people.

If we want friends in this region and to be seen as less mercenary, we need to negotiate and not always suggest or turn to legal action at the first instance.

We are Asians, and being litigious is not a hallmark of our culture. Neither does it improve relations.

This is an excellent opportunity for our fourth-generation (4G) leadership to prove its mettle in negotiations.

Tan Shao Yi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2018, with the headline 'Excellent chance for 4G leaders to prove their mettle'. Print Edition | Subscribe