If Singapore sneezes, Malaysia is sick. This may apply to the economic situation between Malaysia and Singapore.
But in politics, when Mahathir moves, Singapore is shaken.
This happened in 2018 when the ex-PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad won the elections in a shock defeat of the Barisan Nasional.
The repercussions in Singapore were huge.
But COVID-19 came and the People’s Action Party got a reprieve from the risk of the political change in Malaysia.
There was a real risk of a spill-over effect and the opposition was, in some ways, counting on this. But COVID-19 happened.
And if not for the COVID-19, the results of the 2020 elections in the city-state could be otherwise.
Nevertheless, Mahathir is at it again and his theatrics have shaken Singapore again.
His poem on Pejuang or ‘Fighter’ got Singapore’s Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam to question a pair of lines in the poem.
The former premier revealed the name of his new party yesterday. It was in a posting on his blog, Chedet.cc in form of a poem. The poem references Malays in a “neighbouring country”.
According to Malaysiakini, Shanmugam yesterday directed his social media followers’ attention to the lines.
He wants to know if Mahathir is questioning whether the said neighbouring country was “still Malay”.
“Wonder which country Mahathir is referring to,” Shanmugam posted on Facebook.
The new party will champion the interests of Malays and Bumiputera.
Pejuang means fighter in Bahasa Malaysia and Bumiputera is the ‘son of the soil.’
But midway through the poem, Mahathir says:
“Lihat Melayu negara jiran.
“Melayu lagikah negara mereka?”
Malaysiakini translates the lines as follows: “Look at the Malays of the neighbouring country. Is their country still Malay?”
And this jolted Mr Shanmugam and perhaps the entire PAP. This forced the Singaporean minister. to question Mahathir’s motive in writing these lines.
Mahathir did not state which country he meant by those lines but he has his cunning way of doing things.