Move past historical baggage towards win-win collaborations

If subsidising treated water sold to Malaysia to the tune of almost four times its selling price since 1965 is not a goodwill gesture, I don't know what is (Singapore stands by its HSR and water pact obligations, says Vivian; July 10).

Some Malaysian politicians seem to revel in stereotyping Singapore as a cold, calculating, legalistic and "kiasu" partner, even to the point of suppressing the full facts of the 1962 Water Agreement, for example.

But ask any law-abiding counterpart why Singapore remains a partner to them - and Singapore has many partners from across the globe - one of the first words you often hear is "trust": trust in keeping to its side of all agreements, as opposed to changing them when it is inconvenient.

While many Singaporeans empathise with recent revelations of financial distress in Malaysia by the new government, we also hope that this will not translate into another opportunity for some politicians to dismiss our bilateral relations as collateral damage.

It has been more than 50 years since Malaysia and Singapore parted ways as one nation.

It is time to move on from the politics of historical baggage, and seize the opportunities for win-win collaborations between two nearest and closest neighbours, especially in the area of sustainable development, such as water management.

Toh Cheng Seong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 15, 2018, with the headline 'Move past historical baggage towards win-win collaborations'. Print Edition | Subscribe