The reason Singapore needs to carry big stick

Singaporeans must be astonished by the Malaysian foreign minister's call for both countries to cease and desist from sending assets into the area currently under dispute between Singapore and Malaysia (Singapore stands firm in dispute over its territorial waters; Dec 8).

One just doesn't aggressively intrude into another's lawful longstanding house, claim it unjustifiably as one's possession, and then, when challenged on the legitimacy of the intrusion, casually suggest both parties move out pending discussions.

It is criminal trespassing and under lawful circumstances, carries severe consequences.

Malaysia should know better, unless it is being disingenuous.

It is difficult for ties to be reciprocally congenial when Malaysia chooses to agitate us whenever it finds it opportune, yet also asks for concessions and neighbourly consideration, expecting these to be granted whenever it is in dire straits and needs a favour.

Peaceful coexistence is constantly compromised, let alone mutually beneficial cooperation.

Do we need wonder then why Singapore, constantly reminded of its small size, needs to carry a big stick even as we always talk softly?

Even Malaysia's Deputy King, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, has stated that the natives in his country have a political culture of blaming.

It's time they grew up. The international arena is not meant for immature political dilettantes.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2018, with the headline 'The reason Singapore needs to carry big stick'. Print Edition | Subscribe