Week's Top Letter #1: Only one course of action for Malaysia - get out of S'pore waters

Dr Rais Hussin's claim that Malaysia has always taken a "live and let live" approach towards its bilateral ties with Singapore is sadly all at sea, especially when set against the incursions by Malaysian vessels into the city-state's territory in recent weeks (Singapore gains nothing with harder stance against KL in dispute, says PPBM strategist; Dec 9).

Hopefully, this is not Kuala Lumpur's new code of conduct and watermark for peace and cooperation with Singapore.

There is only one course of action for Malaysia to unilaterally take right now, and that is to effectively de-escalate the situation by withdrawing its vessels from Singapore waters immediately and return to the status quo before Oct 25 for bilateral talks to commence or risk the consequences according to Singapore laws.

There is no need for the likes of Dr Rais to try and confuse their country's blatant violation of Singapore's sovereignty, including with colourful threats and iffy examples about how Malaysia has always taken a "live and let live" approach with its neighbour on the many purported incursions by Singapore's air force into Malaysian airspace, allegations the Republic has always denied.

For example, when have Singaporean fighter planes cornered neighbouring airspace to claim it as Singapore's territory, the way the Malaysian vessels are behaving off Tuas right now?

Above all, Dr Rais' advice for Singapore to learn to "live and let live" with intruders seeking to annex its territory cannot be more self-serving, considering how Malaysia had dealt with such threats in the past, most recently in Sabah against some irredentist extremists from southern Philippines.

I sincerely hope he is smart and gracious enough to advise his leaders not to spoil for a fight with Singapore, and to do what is right and sensible as angels who are capable of making U-turns to address their mistakes, to quote Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

No one - least of all KL - will gain from this wilfully engineered farce by Malaysia and the ill-feeling that its protraction is likely to engender on both sides.

Singapore's leaders have repeatedly stressed that there is much that both countries can do to lift our societies and economies for win-win gains on a broad level.

We can afford to live and let live by focusing our energies on these shared endeavours instead of wasting precious time and resources resurrecting old wounds as Malaysia has done in recent months.

Toh Cheng Seong