Malaysia cannot blame Singapore entirely for the bilateral problems the two nations faced, says former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
He said that â€œwe must also look at ourselves in the mirrorâ€ from time to time.
â€œIn seeking co-operation, both Malaysia and Singapore must recognise that we cannot expect to change each otherâ€™s policies or the way we conduct our international relations.
â€œThere will inevitably be differences between us,â€ the country’s fifth prime minister said when launching the book Malaysia-Singapore Fifty Years of Contentions 1965 â€“ 2015 by Tan Sri Ab Kadir Mohamad here yesterday.
Abdullah acknowledged that it was natural for neighbours to have bilateral issues and disputes.
â€œBut Malaysia and Singapore are not normal neighbours in a sense.
â€œThey were once a united polity that came apart as a result of incompatible ambitions,â€ he said.
However, Abdullah said, the future for the relationship between the two countries need not be the same as its past.
â€œWhen I was prime minister, I tried to remove some baggage. History will be the judge of what I tried to do,â€ he added.
Abdullah said bilateral relations were more than any sum of events, agreements or negotiations.
â€œThey must be based on principles such as frankness and mutual respect, consistency and stability, reliability and predictability.
â€œWe must think beyond short term advantage,â€ he said.
Ab Kadir, who was adviser for foreign affairs to Abdullah, said his 345-page book was less analysis and more narrative.
â€œThe narrative begins with an account of the difficult period when Singapore was part of Malaysia for two short years.
â€œThese two difficult years were then followed by some 50 years of ups and downs,â€ said the former secretary-general of the Foreign Ministry.
The book, priced at RM100 each, is available at major bookstores.-The Star