Another day, another Tun U-Turn up North.
From today onward, Tun M’s boats will row-row-row their boats back to Bolehland from our waters.
In case you are lazy AF to read the news, the TLDR version is Malaysia has agreed to withdraw the Johor Bahru Port Limits back to its position before 25 October 2018.
As per their usual Prata style on issues, this Prata order back to the previous port limits is one we would gladly have at Mr Teh Tarik.
And in case you are having slight dementia like Tun M, who kept using his old tactics against Singapore when he was PM the first time, here are some quick refresher:
#1 – On 25 Oct 2018, Malaysia had unilaterally extended the Johor Bahru Port Limits into Singapore’s territorial waters off Tuas
(Imagine one day waking up and seeing your next-door neighbor standing in your bedroom saying, “Excuse me, why are you sleeping on my bed? This one is my one okay?”)
#2 – On 7 Dec 2018, Malaysia proposed to Singapore to have both countries “cease and desist” from sending assets into “disputed area”.
(Your neighbour then replied, “Okay, okay, how about we both move out [don’t worry, you can sleep anywhere you want, but here cannot] and then we meet again next time to discuss?”)
#3 – On the same day, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan expressed his disagreement on the proposal and stressed that Singapore remained ready to discuss the issue with Malaysia in a constructive manner.
(Calm, though outraged, “Eh bro, cannot ah like that. But okay can, we Lim Kopi soon.”)
#4 – In the meantime, Malaysia continued to make repeated intrusions and even anchored their government vessels into our waters.
(Which inevitably led to the collision between Greece-registered bulk carrier Pireas and Malaysia vessel Polaris, Jeng Jeng Jeng!)
#5 – After weeks of talks, Malaysia will now Gostan their vessels away from Singapore’s territorial waters.
Does this also mean that Singapore “chicken-out” from this episode? Of course not lah!
Singapore has not anchored our vessels in the area for the very basic reason (and common sense) of not jeopardising the safety of other vessels in that narrow water way.
It’s like parking a big lorry at a tight one way street. We are not so stupid one okay. Later accident, insurance claim who sia? Remember Pireas and Polaris? Nobody wants another rerun of that episode.
But relax, our future Tuas Mega Port will continue to be developed, and ships can still come to our ports, so that your Amazon Prime purchases will still reach your doorsteps.
Besides, for the love of world peace, this very move prevents further escalation. Like how our favourite Abang likes to say “Jangan tension”, even Yoda is saying:
You want to suffer meh?
But fret not. Our men and women from the Navy and the Coast Guard will continue to remain vigilant and safeguard the sovereignty and security of our waters in accordance with our laws. *Salute*
Long story short, these are our waters. We have long patrolled the area exclusively, and we will continue to do so, period.