Singapore—Retired diplomat Bilahari Kausikan has weighed in on the current leadership upheaval in Malaysia, saying it has come “full circle” and calls it a “waste of time.”
However, he warns that it could mean bad news for Singapore, as he expects that old bilateral issues will be resurrected.
Mr Bilahari first weighed in on Monday, after the news broke out that Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad had handed in his resignation to the king.
For Malaysia he said that this was “an utter waste of time” that would “probably make no substantive difference.” Furthermore he said it “may all go full circle.”
But for Singapore, the academic and former diplomat already said the outcome of the upheaval would not be good.
He said that he was going for a drink, and upon his return edited his post, writing, “The Agong has accepted Dr M’s resignation and appointed him interim PM. You really cannot make this sort of thing up!”
His post got a number of reactions from netizens, ranging from the prediction that Singapore would become Malaysia’s bogeyman again,
Or that it was a good lesson for Singapore regarding the perils of having a coalition government
Another netizen said it would actually be a “win” for Singapore,
The former diplomat followed up his original post with another one the following day (Feb 25). While he repeated that Malaysia had come “full circle” and that it was “a waste of time,” he also said that Dr Mahathir had emerged as a winner in the process.
He wrote, “Dr M has clearly come out strengthened,” and outlined why he had come to this conclusion.
“He resigned but the Agong immediately appointed him interim PM. The AG as promptly pronounced that there is no time limit for the interim PM.
Since PH is dissolved, the promise to hand-over to Anwar after APEC is also moot and M does not even have to pretend to honour it.
The old PH cabinet no longer exists and he can appoint anyone he wants to the new cabinet from any party.”
Furthermore, he has gained new allies, writing, “The DAP and Amanah have pledged allegiance to him. UMNO and PAS have also called upon M to remain PM. M resigned as Chairman of Bersatu but the party refused to accept his resignation.”
Mr Bilahari added, “M is probably the only politician in the world whom both members of the former ruling coalition and the former opposition have implored to remain PM.”
And then he stated why he believes this is bad news for Singapore.
“Gotta hand it to the old boy.
But once the dust settles, a strengthened M will begin to press us on water, the bridge and a host of time-wasting old bilateral issues.” -/TISG