For now, the clash of the two monumental egos will constantly keep Singapore and Malaysia apart, hindering, among other things, Singapore's involvement in the Iskandar Project.
June 16, 2009
Mahathir scoffs at MM's visit
KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad yesterday poured fresh vitriol on Singapore, calling Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew a 'little Emperor' and describing the republic as a 'new Middle Kingdom'.
In a no-holds-barred tirade on his blog Che Det that coincided with the tail-end of an official visit by Mr Lee to Malaysia, he slammed Singapore for putting itself in the centre of the region, and also took issue with other topics such as the Iskandar development in Johor and the supply of water.
Mr Lee, he charged, had in his 'triumphant visit to Malaysia' made it known to 'Malaysian supplicants' that Singapore regarded the lands within a 6,000-mile radius as its hinterland.
'This includes Beijing and Tokyo and of course Malaysia,' he wrote.
'Of course this self-deluding perception places Singapore at the centre of a vast region. It is therefore the latter day Middle Kingdom,' he added, using the Chinese name for China. 'The rest are peripheral and are there to serve the interests of this somewhat tiny Middle Kingdom.'
He again insinuated that Malays would lose out in the development of the Iskandar region in Johor.
Mr Lee and Tun Dr Mahathir had crossed swords over several national issues when they were both prime ministers and Malaysian newsmen have noted that Mr Lee did not meet his erstwhile adversary on his current trip.
When asked about this last week, the former Malaysian premier had replied tersely: 'I don't see why he would request to see me; I am a nobody.'
Mr Mahathir has used his widely read blog to comment on all and sundry and also to launch attacks on political opponents, including his successor, former prime minister Abdullah Badawi.