Reunion with S’pore: Toss it out!

Maxwell Coopers
Free Malaysia Today

There is simply not going to be any ‘reunion’ with Singapore. For if it does, it may just be that much traumatic. That premier Najib Tun Razak did not mince his words is that much understandable.

And that he needs to remind his Singapore audience over any such impending outcome at a dinner in his honour at the Singapore Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA), is not just about endorsing a fact of political reality but underscores what is plain obvious: that a Rubicon once crossed simply cannot be renegotiated.

And that mythical Rubicon happens to be Aug 9, 1965, when Singapore after being expelled from Malaysia following an abortive merger plan, became independent and sought its own political destiny, independent as otherwise of the social contract in Malaysia that caused the split in the first place.

There is no doubt that a reunion, according to Najib, would be futile if not outright implausible considering the acrimony that marked pre and post independent Malaysia and Singapore.

“It would be too traumatic”, he told his audience and in deft stanzas called such any such prospect purely ‘unrealistic’.

Not since Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew broached that topic also at a FCA dinner in 1996, has the contentious subject been floated yet again.

Then as now the dynamics of bilateral relationship can hardly be removed from the collective memories of either nation. That’s especially so when the ‘trauma’ referred to by Najib is much about what history tells and what historians on either side of the causeway wants told.

Historical accounts if any are always ‘tricky’ business. That becomes particularly acute when it involves on which side of the fence those historians are sitting on.

Like the partition of India and Pakistan now buried within the subconscious of the searing memories of murder and mass pogroms the scars and bruises of the 1964 and 1969 race riots ring out with such alacrity that the trauma referred to by Najib may after all, be an understatement to say of it the very least.

Poles apart

Presumed irritants and differing interpretations over just what constitutes meritocracy on either side of the causeway are just but one aspect of what is the implausible cause of a reunion.

Both nations have drifted apart so widely, it is so plainly inconceivable to revisit history and have it retold in a sensitised plaintive.

Not just in affirmative action programmes. Even on the very sensitive issue of diplomatic relations with Israel, both nations are seemingly poles apart.

That ‘the Malaysian people will not accept it”, of a possible reunion with Singapore as told to FMT by a former Port Klang official mirrors the just irreversible vox populi prevalent in Singapore too.

What all of that translates in no small measure it simply makes that much sense that keeping ‘a distance’ from the other, is perhaps arguably the safest way to keeping the peace.

Least talketh is soonest mendeth they say.

By any outward appearances, it simply means leave the visage of the crossed Rubicon behind and move on – move on, in other words to the next chapter, for history is nothing better than the sum total of every element be they, traumatic or otherwise.

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