A Kadir Jasin
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OUR fellow debater, thegreatteadrinkerdownsouth is kind enough to draw my attention to an article published in the Singapore Straits Times today, June 1.
Since the report mentioned our ongoing discussion on the cooperation between Malaysia and Singapore in the development the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), I would like to re-post the great tea drinker’s comment for general reading.
I thank the great tea drinker for alerting us. The following is his full and unedited comment, which also appears in the comment section of the posting entitled “When Diplomat Speaks Like Politician” dated May 19.
He said: “Salaam, Dato'Please be informed, in case that you don't already know, that Janadas Devan (the son of a late former President of Singapore) has written a stinging op-ed piece ("The paranoia of suspicious minds") which is published in the Spore Straits Times today, June 1.
He has postulated the thesis that the root of Spore's bilateral problems with Malaysia and Indonesia is caused by a disconnect between the thinking of Msian and Indonesian leaders (such as Pak Lah and SBY) and what a large segment of their population feels.And, Dato', he has specifically criticised you in his commentary.
I quote:"It is impossible to believe that educated Malaysians do not know that a 'consultative' body cannot possibly have executive powers. After all, Malaysia itself has had consultative bodies before - including the famous National Consultative Council (NCC).
"That was formed in January 1970, in the aftermath of the 1969 race riots, to involve various groups, including opposition parties, in the effort to find 'permanent solutions to our racial problems', as a contemporary report put it.
"Everyone, including opposition politicians, knew the NCC had no executive powers. That was vested in the National Operations Council, led by then-deputy prime minister Tun Abdul Razak. He was prepared to consult all and sundry, but nobody doubted that his willingness to do so did not imply his ceding control over 'operations'. No Malaysian, not even the non-English speaking ones, confused the National Consultative Council with the National Operations Council.
"So how is it possible for someone like Mr A. Kadir Jassin, a former group editor-in-chief of Malaysia's New Straits Times Press, to suggest that the Malaysia-Singapore JMC (Joint Ministerial Committee) may affect Malaysia's sovereignty?
"It cannot possibly be because he thinks Mr Lee's (Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong) use of the word 'consultative' means that the JMC will be a bilateral 'operations council'.
"Mr Kadir, a crisp writer in English, is too smart to believe such nonsense.
"But he, like many other in Malaysia, have raised this canard because, one, it carries a political percentage on the ground, and two, because they genuinely fear globalisation. The ridiculous fuss over the JMC's purpose is a stand-in for a generalised fear tht the policies that must be put in place to ensure the IDR's success will threaten entrenched privileged domestic groups......
"Prime Minister Abdullah and his senior colleagues understand what is at stake. They know that China and India are breathing down Asean's neck. They have a clear-sighted vision of how the IDR should succeed. But that understanding, knowledge and vision run counter to what plays on the ground. This is a contradiction that Singapore cannot possibly resolve, no matter how much goodwill it manifests. The IDR, if it thrives, will benefit both countries, but only Malaysians can ensure its success...."
And the great tea drinker asked: "Well, Dato' - can we expect a suitable riposte from you? Something that will be published unedited and unexpurgated in the Spore Straits Times?
"And, for the record, do you "genuinely fear globalisation"? Maybe this is another canard which you should forcefully rebut?”