2006年8月7日、アブドラ首相はベルナマ通信のAnnuar Zaini会長とのインタビューで次のように語った。 「I chose to keep quiet because I do not want to quarrel with Tun (Dr Mahathir) in the newspaper. Tun said in a statement that he was slighted because he did not get the information he asked for and if the Prime Minister does not speak, let the ministers speak. I chose to let the ministers speak. There are a lot of things he raised come under the ministers’ jurisdiction. They should be responsible to explain to the people. People want to know and many Cabinet ministers prefer that I don’t speak. Many feel that it is better that I don’t speak, many say that Paklah go on and speak. So it became chaotic. Let the ministers speak; this is not about being evasive. The questions raised were directed to the Government and the Government answers. 」
“I had promised not to interfere with politics and I have not said anything about the many wrong things which have been done. But this is the limit. When you sell your country and allow other people to direct you in your country, I think I have limits. To surrender your sovereignty to Singapore as if you are scared does not speak well of the self-respect you have for yourself. I will continue to write letters if necessary ? if I feel the country’s sovereignty is surrendered to other people. Even as a citizen, I have the right,”
Open Letter by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Fakta Mengenai Jambatan Bengkok
Saya menulis surat terbuka ini sebagai seorang rakyat Malaysia yang cintakan negara untuk sesiapa saja yang ingin membacanya.
Fakta-fakta yang terkandung dalam surat ini perlu saya hebahkan dengan cara ini kerana pada akhir-akhir ini tidak banyak lagi kenyataan saya yang disiarkan, sama ada oleh media massa elektronik atau cetak, walaupun mereka menghantar wakil untuk menghadiri sidang akhbar saya.
Mengenai isu di atas, saya telah menyatakan pandangan saya iaitu Kerajaan Malaysia telah gagal mempertahankan kedaulatan negara. Akibat daripada itu negara mengalami kerugian berbilion ringgit. Wang ini adalah wang rakyat.
Saya juga mahu rakyat faham sikap dan tindak-tanduk Kerajaan Singapura serta dakwaan Kerajaan Malaysia yang ia memberhentikan pembinaan jambatan itu kerana isu undang-undang dan kerana sentimen rakyat yang tidak sanggup menyerahkan ruang udara serta penjualan pasir kepada Singapura, dan ini disalahertikan secara sengaja bahawa rakyat tidak mahu jambatan. Rakyat mahu jambatan tetapi menolak syarat Singapura, kerana ia tidak berasas dan bukan hak Singapura.
Singapura sangat gemar mencetak surat-menyurat antara pemimpinnya dengan pemimpin Malaysia dengan tujuan membuktikan yang ia di pihak yang benar.
Kerajaan Malaysia sekarang percaya bahawa dengan tidak menyanggah kempen memutarbelitkan oleh Singapura, masalah yang dihadapi akan selesai dengan sendirinya. Tetapi ini angan-angan yang tidak akan jadi kenyataan.
Di dalam amalan diplomatik, surat-surat yang ditulis oleh suatu pihak dengan memetik persetujuan-persetujuan lisan yang kononnya dicapai di dalam rundingan tidak rasmi di kalangan pemimpin, adalah tidak sah.
Untuk menjadikan ianya sah, rundingan hendaklah dicatat dan dirakam dengan sempurna, disahkan dan ditandatangani oleh kedua-dua belah pihak. Kenyataan yang dibuat di dalam sidang akhbar oleh salah satu pihak tanpa pengesahan pihak satu lagi juga adalah tidak sah.
Encik Lee Kuan Yew, ketika dia menjadi Menteri Kanan Singapura, sangat gemar meminta diadakan pertemuan empat mata tanpa agenda yang sempurna dan kemudian merakamkan hasil pertemuan itu di dalam suratnya sendiri kepada pihak ketiga. ( Sila lihat Apendiks 1 )
Berdasarkan surat-surat itu juga, dia harap rakan sejawatnya akan menyetujui kandungannya dan oleh yang demikian terikat dengan kandungan surat-surat itu. Dia tidak mengambil kira jika catatannya tidak dianggap tepat dan tidak disahkan.
Saya menganggap apa-apa pun yang tidak menepati amalan diplomatik sebagai tidak sah. Tanggapan beliau adalah tanggapan beliau sahaja, tidak Iebih dan tidak kurang. Tindakannya mencetak surat-suratnya sebagai bukti bahawa saya telah bersetuju tidak bermakna sama sekali. Hanya jika saya membalas surat itu dan mengesahkan perkara-perkara tertentu, barulah perkara-perkara berkenaan boleh dianggap benar. Tetapi sama ada ia sah dan kita terikat dengannya, bergantung pada pengesahan dan persetujuan kedua-dua belah pihak, secara rasmi.
Berdolak-dalik mengenai apa yang disebut “pakej” dan ketidakmampuan mencapai sebarang persetujuan adalah kerana kelulusan yang berasaskan “pakej” tidak praktikal. Jika persetujuan tidak boleh dicapai mengenai mana-mana satu perkara maka persetujuan tidak boleh dicapai bagi semua perkara dalam pakej itu.
Atas sebab inilah yang saya mencadangkan dan Encik Goh Chok Tong bersetuju iaitu kita menyelesaikan perkara demi perkara secara berasingan. Ini siperakukan dan diterima oleh Encik Goh Chok Tong selaku Perdana Menteri melalui surat bertarikh Oktober 14 2002 (sila lihat Apendiks 2) yang antara lain menyebut;
“Pada penghujung pertemuan (di Hanoi) anda berkata kita perlu mencuba menyelesaikan isu air, lagi cepat lagi baik. Saya bersetuju….”
Tetapi di dalam surat yang sama, Encik Goh Chok Tong berkata;
“Oleh yang demikian, saya tidak menjangka menerima surat anda bertarikh 7hb Oktober pada l0hb Oktober di mana anda menyatakan “Malaysia telah memutuskan untuk tidak meneruskan pendekatan pakej……”
Setelah menolak pendekatan pakej, saya membuat jangkaan yang isu pembinaan jambatan tidak akan dikaitkan dengan sebarang isu lain. Saya menaruh harapan yang sangat tinggi apabila isu pembinaan jambatan disebutkan di dalam surat-surat Menteri Kanan Lee Kuan Yew dan Perdana Menteri Goh Chok Tong.
Dalam sepucuk surat (sila rujuk Apendiks I perenggan 6) kepada Tun Daim Zainuddin, Lee berkata;
“Mengenai cadangan Mahathir membina Jambatan Tambak, Perdana Menteri saya (Goh) bersetuju dengannya tetapi mencadangkan agar kita tidak merobohkan Tambak Johor.”
Nampaknya rakyat Singapura lebih menyetujui jika kedua-dua jambatan baru dan Tambak Johor ada. Ini tentulah tidak masuk akal kerana cadangan pembinaan jambatan baru adalah bertujuan membuka laluan di antara kedua-dua belah di Selat Tebrau supaya air boleh mengalir tanpa sekatan. Ia bukan bertujuan menambah kapasiti hubungan antara Singapura dan Johor. Jika ini berlaku, ia hanyalah satu kebetulan.
Satu lagi hujah menarik Encik Lee ialah (sekiranya Singapura bersetuju dengan pembinaan jambatan itu);
“Singapura akan menambak laut di sebelah wilayahnya hingga ke sempadan dengan Malaysia.” (rujuk Apendiks 3, surat Menteri Kanan Lee kepada Dr Mahathir bertarikh Sept 8, 2001)
Sempadan antara Singapura dan Malaysia di Selat Tebrau adalah dasar laut yang paling dalam. Bagaimanapun, bagi Tambak Johor sempadannya adalah di tengah-tengah jambatan. Jika Singapura menambak laut di sebelah wilayahnya sehingga ke sempadan, ia bererti hanya laut di sebelah Malaysia akan kekal. Jadi apa halnya dengan konsep sempadan berasaskan dasar laut paling dalam? Dalam surat yang sama kepada Daim (rujuk Apendiks I perenggan 12) , Menteri Kanan Lee berkata;
“Saya sentiasa memaklumkan inisiatif saya kepada Perdana Menteri saya. Dia (Perdana Menteri Goh) bagaimanapun, berkata dia menyerahkan hal ini kepada saya sehingga peringkat akhir apabila dia akan mengkajinya dengan teliti sebelum memberi sebarang persetujuan.”
Menteri Kanan Lee juga menulis ( Apendiks 1, perenggan 12) ; “semua nota atau surat yang saya hantar kepada anda dan kepada Mahathir dan sebaliknya perlulah dianggap sebagai Tanpa Prejudis (Without Prejudice) iaitu tidak akan ada sebarang perjanjian sehingga semua perkara dipersetujui dan ditandatangani oleh kedua-dua Perdana Menteri.”
Jelas bahawa Menteri Kanan Lee tidak diberi kuasa untuk memutuskan apa-apa kerana beliau perlu memaklumkannya kepada Perdana Menteri Goh untuk dikaji sebelum dipersetujui. Jika tidak, maka tidak akan ada sebarang persetujuan mengenai semua perkara sehinggalah diperakui dan ditandatangani oleh kedua-dua Perdana Menteri.
Dalam jawapan kepada cadangan saya agar terminal Keretapi Tanah Melayu dibina di Johor Baru, Menteri Kanan Lee, melalui surat bertarikh 10 Disember 2001 (sila rujuk Apendiks 4 , perenggan 10), berkata;
“Saya harap anda juga akan menimbangkan kepentingan jangka panjang dan nilai perkhidmatan KTM. Sejak tahun 1923 kereta api merupakan perhubungan yang sangat berharga …….. Saya rasa mengekalkan hubungan kereta api antara Kuala Lumpur dan Singapura menguntungkan kedua-dua buah Negara……… Bagaimanapun, oleh sebab KTM milik negara anda, Singapura akan mematuhi keputusan anda”.
Dalam surat ini, Menteri Kanan Lee berikrar mematuhi keputusan saya. Namun beliau boleh juga berkata Perdana Menteri Goh tidak bersetuju dan segala surat-menyurat kami adalah tanpa prejudis.
Namun begitu, apabila beliau atau Perdana Menteri Goh Chok Tong dan saya sendiri menurunkan pandangan-pandangan kami dalam bentuk tulisan, ia menggambarkan apa yang kami fikirkan. Tetapi oleh sebab ia dilakukan tanpa prejudis, kami tidak terikat dengan apa yang kami katakan.
Justeru itu, tidak timbul persoalan berdolak-dalik atau memindahkan tiang gol. Kedudukan tiang gol belum diputuskan. OIeh sebab apa yang dilakukan itu berasaskan konsep tanpa prejudis, maka ia tidak Iebih daripada cadangan sahaja.
Dalam surat bertarikh 11 April 2002 (rujuk Apendiks 5) Perdana Menteri Goh menyebut; “Saya sekarang memutuskan untuk mengendalikan sendiri perbincangan kita mengenai pakej dua hala.” Sekarang barulah seorang yang berkuasa bercakap (bagi pihak Singapura).
Di dalam apa yang boleh dianggap sebagai komitmen mutakhir, Perdana Menteri Goh menulis (kepada saya):
“Di antara sebuah jambatan baru bagi menggantikan keseluruhan Tambak, dan yang menggantikan hanya bahagian di sebelah Malaysia, saya lebih suka kepada pilihan pertama.”
“Sebaik sahaja jambatan baru siap, Tambak bolehlah dirobohkan, yang mana saya gembira jika dilakukan selepas tahun 2007.” “Tetapi sekiranya anda mahu menggantikan Tambak di sebelah negara anda dengan sebuah jambatan dengan serta-merta, saya akan menyetujuinya, walaupun pada pendapat saya ini tidaklah ideal.”
Apakah kesimpulan yang boleh kita buat kepada kenyataan ini? Tidak pun disebut mengenai pasir dari Malaysia dan pembukaan ruang udara kepada kapal terbang tentera Singapura. Juga tidak disebutkan tentang nostalgia, hanya keutamaan supaya Tambak dirobohkan selepas tahun 2007.
Sekarang dihujahkan pula bahawa jika Malaysia sentuh paip yang membawa air ke Singapura, ia adalah tindakan perang (act of war). Adakah ini perisytiharan perang?
Peruntukan “Wayleave Agreement” dengan Singapura cukup jelas. Berikut adalah apa yang dipersetujui mengenai paip air;
“That the Licensee (Singapore) shall take full responsibility financially or otherwise for any alteration to the pipeline that may become necessary by reason of any alterations or improvements made or to be made on the Johor Causeway and on receiving not less than six months previous notice in writing from the Licensors (Malaysia) shall thereupon carry out the alteration in accordance with such notice and shall have no claim for any compensation.”
[“Bahawa Pemegang Lesen (Singapura) akan mengambil sepenuh tanggungjawab kewangan atau sebaliknya bagi sebarang pindaan kepada saluran paip apabila ia diperlukan untuk sebarang pengubahsuaian atau pembaikan atau yang diperlukan di Tambak sebelah negeri Johor dan apabila menerima notis bertulis enam bulan sebelumnya daripada Pelesen (Malaysia) akan melakukan pengubahsuaian itu seperti yang disebutkan di dalam notis tanpa sebarang tuntutan ganti rugi.”]
Perjanjian itu tidak menyebut mengenai hak Pemegang Lesen (Singapura) mengingkarinya. Peruntukan “akan melaksanakan pengubahsuaian” (Shall carry out the alteration) sangat jelas dan kuat. Singapura wajib melaksanakan pengubahsuaian itu. Tetapi jika Singapura ingkar, ia mungkin merupakan tindakan perang dan bukan sebaliknya.
Apabila kerja awal pembinaan jambatan dimulakan tidak ada protes dan tidak ada permintaan membeli pasir atau menggunakan ruang udara kita. Sekarang pembinaan jambatan di sebelah wilayah kita pun nampaknya tertakluk kepada syarat kita membekalkan berjuta meter padu pasir kepada Singapura untuk menambak laut dan membuka ruang udara kita kepada jet tentera udaranya. Daripada mana datang semua syarat ini? Apakah kaitan antara perluasan wilayah Singapura dengan kita membina jambatan di dalam wilayah kita sendiri?
Tindak-tanduk Singapura mengaitkan pembinaan jambatan di wilayah kita dengan tuntutan kita menjual pasir dan membuka ruang udara kepadanya tidak berasas sama sekali.
Mengapa Kerajaan Malaysia perlu bersetuju memberi pasir dan membuka ruang udara kepada Singapura, jika tidak terpaksa memberhentikan pembinaan jambatan bengkok di wilayah kita sendiri adalah di luar kemampuan saya memahaminya.
Adalah hak rakyat Malaysia tidak menjual pasir kepada Singapura atau membuka ruang udara kepadanya. Tetapi rakyat tidak pernah mengatakan yang mereka bersedia mengorbankan projek jambatan. Yang mereka tidak mahu adalah mengalah kepada tuntutan Singapura supaya kita menjual pasir dan membuka ruang udara. Mereka mahukan jambatan tetapi mereka juga mahu Kerajaan mereka menyanggah tuntutan Singapura kerana di segi undang-undang Malaysia tidak perlu melayan syarat-syarat Singapura.
Tindak-tanduk Singapura ini telah dijangkakan. Tetapi Kerajaan Malaysia gagal mempertahankan kedaulatan negara. Di samping itu, ia telah menyebabkan kerugian berbilion ringgit wang rakyat jelata.
Biarlah rakyat Malaysia, khasnya orang Melayu, Melayu Johor terutamanya, ingat bahawa lnggeris telah menipu Sultan untuk menyerahkan Singapura dengan percuma kepada mereka (Inggeris).
Seperti Pulau Pinang, Lumut dan Melaka, Singapura sepatutnya dikembalikan kepada kita apabila lnggeris melepaskan hak mereka. Tetapi Singapura telah menjadi begitu asing keadaannya sehingga ia tidak boleh lagi menjadi sebahagian daripada Malaysia.
Apakah Malaysia sekarang akan memberi lebih banyak tanah kepada Singapura supaya ia boleh memperluaskan wilayahnya dan menambah bilangan penduduknya? Menyerahkan dasar laut kita kepada Singapura tidak ada bezanya dengan memberikan bumi kita kepada Singapura. Kesudahannya ialah perluasan wilayah Singapura. Ia tidak ada bezanya dengan menyerahkan sebahagian daripada Johor untuk tujuan ini. Apakah kita begitu miskin sehingga kita perlu menjual sekeping bumi kita kepada orang lain?
Generasi rakyat Malaysia yang akan datang, sama ada Melayu atau Johor, akan menyumpah kita jika kita melakukan semua ini sedangkan kita berhak membina jambatan di atas bumi dan laut kita sendiri sebagai sebuah negara yang merdeka dan berdaulat.
Cukuplah kita menyerahkan Singapura (kepada Inggeris). Tidak perlulah kita menyerahkan lagi tanah kita kepada Singapura walaupun ada orang yang berpendapat kita hanya boleh membina jambatan di negara kita jika Singapura bersetuju.
Rakyat Malaysia tidak pernah mengatakan demikian. Janganlah ada sesiapa yang menyumbat hujah ke dalam mulut mereka semata-mata kerana orang itu takut untuk mempertahankan hak dan kedaulatan negara serta rakyat Malaysia.
Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad
19hb April, 2006
STATEMENT BY YBHG TAN SRI AHMAD FUZI BIN HJ ABDUL RAZAK, AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON THE BRIDGE ISSUE
1. The proposed construction of a new bridge to replace the Johore Causeway has created a lot of controversy and media coverage on the issue continues to attract public attention.
2. As the coordinating Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been directly involved in the bilateral negotiations with Singapore on the bridge proposal. I wish to clarify some of the major issues including the chronological events surrounding the bridge proposal so as to put them in the proper perspective.
3. In addressing the issue, I wish to highlight in particular the confusion pertaining to the proposal for a full straight bridge and the alternative proposal for a scenic half bridge (termed crooked by the media) and the scenic full bridge; thepolitical and legal dimensions pertaining to the proposed unilateral construction of a scenic half bridge by Malaysia including Singapore’s position; the bilateral negotiations involving sand and airspace as trade-offs and the Malaysian Government’s decision not to finally proceed with any bridge proposal.
4. To begin with, the idea of building a bridge to replace the Johore Causeway was first announced by the Government during the launching of the Johore Bahru Waterfront City by YABhg. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, then Prime Minister of Malaysia on 5 July 1996. It was clear that the bridge that Malaysia had in mind then was a full straight bridge.
5. Malaysia had originally treated the proposed bridge issue as outside the four package of outstanding bilateral issuesnamely water, Points of Agreement (POA), Central Provident Fund (CPF) and airspace as agreed upon between YABhg. Tun and the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong of Singapore on 17 December 1998 in Hanoi. The course of events however, made it difficult for the bridge issue to be discussed separately from the other outstanding issues in the package.
6. Bilateral negotiations through the exchange of letters, Four-Eyed Meetings between YABhg. Tun as Prime Minister and Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Meetings at Senior Officials and Ministerial level during the period of March 1999 to September 2002 failed to reach agreement on various technical aspects of the bridge proposal as well as other issues within the package.
7. YABhg. Tun then wrote to Senior Minister LeeKuan Yew on 4 March 2002 on the package of issues covering water, bridge and rail including water pipelines, Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ), CPF and air space. The Government’s proposal on the road bridge, railway bridge and water pipelines issues are as follows:-
A new bridge will be built to replace the Causeway. Malaysia will build the bridge on the Malaysian side at its own cost while Singapore will build the bridge on the Singapore side at its own cost. The bridge will connect at the common boundary in the Straits of Johore. Once the bridge is completed, the Causeway will be demolished.
Should Singapore decide not to build the bridge on its side, Malaysia intends to build the bridge on the Singapore side at its own cost. The new bridge will jointhe remaining Causeway on Singapore’s side. Once the bridge is completed, the Causeway on the Malaysian side will be demolished.
Malaysia will build a new railway bridge across the Johore Straits. This railway bridge will include a railway swing bridge on the part of the Johore Straits that will be deepened for navigational purposes.
Should Singapore decide not to build the bridge to replace the Causeway on its side, Malaysia will build a railway on its side in the Johore Straits. This railway bridge will include a railway swing bridge on the part of the Johore Straits that will be deepened for navigational purposes. The new railway bridge will join existing railway track on the remaining Causeway on Singapore’s side.
New water pipelines on the Malaysian side will be installed by Malaysia and will reconnect with the Singapore water pipelines under the new bridge.
Should Singapore decide not to build the bridge to replace the Causeway on its side, the new water pipelines on the part of the Johore Straits that will be deepened for navigational purposes will be buried under the seabed and will reconnect with the Singapore water pipelines.
8. On 11 April 2002 the then Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong conveyed Singapore’s response vide a letter to YABhg. Tun on the outstanding issues covering bridge, railway, water, CPF and air space. On the bridge issue, Singapore’s position was asfollows:
“Between a new bridge to replace the entire Causeway, and one to replace just the Malaysian side of the Causeway. I like the former better. Once the new bridge is completed, the Causeway can be knocked down, which I prefer to be done after 2007. But if you wish to proceed immediately to replace just your side of the Causeway with a bridge, I shall accept it, though I think this is not ideal.”
9. Two Ministerial Meetings were held in July and September 2002 to further discuss the outstanding issues within the package. As no agreement was reached, YBhg. Tun wrote to the then Prime Minister Goh
Chok Tong on 7 October 2002 inter alia as follows:-
“As you are aware, since our above decision, several meetings both at Ministerial and officials levels, had been held on the package of issues. Regrettably, three rounds of talks at the senior officials level in 1999 and two Ministerial-level Meetings in 2002 did not meet with any success.
In addition Senior Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew also had several sessions with me discussing the same package but no agreement could be reached.
I think we have now come to a point where it would be important for us to prioritise our discussions. The approach that both sides had adopted so far in dealing with the outstanding issues in a package, has not yielded any meaningful results. In view of this, Malaysia has now decided to discontinue the packageapproach and to give the highest priority to first resolving the long-delayed water issue, particularly the price review of raw water. Once this issue is satisfactorily and amicably resolved, I am confident that Malaysia and Singapore would be able to move forward much faster in finding solutions to the other outstanding issues that stand in the way of our bilateral relations.”
10. Singapore’s reaction was reflected in the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s letter to YABhg. Tun on 14 October 2002 when he decided to withdraw the concession that he said Singapore was prepared to make as trade-offs involving the bridge and other issues under the package. Singapore later further explained in a Diplomatic Note dated 29 November 2004 that the agreement given by the then Singapore Prime Minister “was made in the context of the then ongoing negotiations between the twoGovernments as an overall package of bilateral issues. With the termination of the package negotiations the underlying basis for the statements in the letter of 11 April 2002 no longer exists”.
11. A legalistic approach was taken by Singapore when Malaysia decided to proceed with the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at Bukit Chagar and the unilateral construction of the scenic half bridge and new railway bridge projects on the Malaysian side of the Johore Causeway after giving the necessary contracts to Gerbang Perdana Sdn Bhd in 2003. In its Diplomatic Note dated 25 October 2003 Singapore referred to the Order of 8 October 2003 International Tribunal On the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in the case concerning Land Reclamation by Singapore in and around the Straits of Johore and contended that Malaysia had made a unilateral decision in announcing the proposedconstruction of the scenic half bridge. It maintained that international facilities such as the Causeway cannot be demolished without its approval, agreement and involvement of both states and there should be mutual cooperation and consultation on the management of the Johore Straits.
12. Singapore’s position on Malaysia’s CIQ complex and the scenic half bridge and new railway projects was finally reflected in its decision with regard to the relocation of Singapore Public Utilities Board (PUB) water pipelines. It effectively invoked PUB’s ownership of the water pipelines as provided for under the 1961 and 1962 Johore-Singapore Water Agreements that was subsequently guaranteed under the 1965 Separation Agreement between Malaysia and Singapore.
13. In giving itslegal opinion, the Attorney General’s Chambers confirmed the above interpretation with respect to PUB’s ownership of the water pipelines under the 1961 and 1962 Johore-Singapore Water Agreements and “that Malaysia is required to obtain prior approval of PUB in relation to the alteration of the water pipelines necessitated by the construction of a bridge, whether it is a full straight bridge or a scenic bridge (half bridge)”.
14. Taking advantage of the above Agreements, Singapore made a clear distinction between the relocation of PUB water pipelines on mainland Johore and the relocation of PUB water pipelines along the Malaysian part of the Johore Causeway in relation to the construction of the scenic half bridge. In a Note dated 29 November 2004 Singapore maintained that in facilitating its relocation of the water pipelines on Johore mainland, it was prepared to decoupleconstruction of the new CIQ complex from the proposal to build a new bridge and treat the two projects as severable from each other. In other words, approval for the relocation of the water pipelines on mainland Johore was given by Singapore only upon obtaining Malaysia’s clarifications that the relocation of the PUB water pipelines was solely for the construction of the new CIQ complex. The relocation of the PUB water pipelines along the Malaysian part of the Johore Causeway in relation to the unilateral construction of the scenic half bridge however would be treated as a different issue altogether.
15. After taking over the Prime Ministership on 30 October 2003, YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi visited Singapore on 12 January 2004. The bridge issue was not specifically discussed but YAB the Prime Minister urged both sides to tackle the issues that are easier to resolvefirst. He explained the approach by using the metaphor of “plucking the ripe fruit first,” whereby both sides should pluck the low hanging fruit first, and then move on to the higher ones on the tree. He subsequently urged both sides to explore new approaches and, “to think out of the box” in order to avoid the previous deadlock that besieged their bilateral negotiations.
16. YAB Dato’ Seri Prime Minister’s above visit paved the way for an improved political climate of cooperation with both sides expressing the desire to amicably resolve the outstanding issues. It was in this context that related works pertaining to the scenic bridge and the railway bridge were suspended on 5 February 2004.
17. During the visit of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong toMalaysia on 4-5 October 2004, both sides agreed to revisit the full straight bridge proposal, as originally conceived by YABhg. Tun, by resuscitating negotiations on the issue. In this context, YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi reiterated the rationale behind Malaysia’s proposal including the need to allow free flow of water so as to improve water quality in the Straits of Johore, to overcome traffic congestion on the Causeway and to allow navigation and promote commercial and recreational activities along the Straits.
18. The full straight bridge proposal was again raised by YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during the two visits of Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong to Malaysia on 13 December 2004 and 1 March 2005 respectively. During the first visit, Malaysia officially presented the design of the full straight bridge for Singapore’s consideration. Singapore continued to maintain that the bridge would bring no benefits to Singapore in return for the S$725 million that it would have to allocate for its part of the project. He nevertheless suggested that it would be easier for Singapore to favourably consider Malaysia’s proposal if it were to lift the ban on the export of sand to Singapore that was imposed on 15 January 1997 and reinstate all the rights with regard to the use of Malaysia’s airspace that had been withdrawn on 16 September 1998. This was the first time that sand was linked by Singapore to the bridge issue. Singapore was previously enjoying the supply of sand from Malaysia by using the private sector.
19. To move forward with further discussions, both sides agreed for Senior Officials to meet as a follow up. A Ministerial Level Meeting was also proposed. Malaysia subsequently took the initiative to send a technicalteam to Singapore to give a technical briefing on the full straight bridge proposal on 28 January 2005. Singapore merely took note of the briefing without giving any specific commitments.
20. It was against the above backdrop that five meetings were held by Senior Officials of both sides between 7 September 2005 to 11 March 2006. Focus was given on the full straight bridge proposal with appropriate video presentation made to the Singapore delegation as a way of persuading Singapore to appreciate the merits of such a proposal. The Malaysian delegation’s approach was to discuss the full straight bridge proposal as a stand alone issue based on its merits. In this regard, the Malaysian side even offered to Singapore the possibility of Malaysia considering to bear the entire cost for the construction of the bridge in return for Singapore’s agreement without linking it to otherissues.
21. It was obvious from the very first meeting that Singapore was more interested to negotiate on the basis of balance of mutual benefits involving sand and airspace. Singapore also preferred to build the bridge on a cost sharing basis if agreement was reached between the two sides. It subsequently dawned on the Malaysian delegation that, short of calling off of the Meeting altogether, progress could only be achieved on the basis of the balance of mutual benefit principle.
22. Armed with expert advice from the relevant Agencies and the mandate given by the Cabinet, the Malaysian delegation crafted a “Broad Political Understanding” (BPU) that incorporated elements constituting the balance of benefits, in respect of the bridge proposal. The BPU, agreed uponin principle, was not a final document and was subjected to the approval of the respective Governments. It was intended to provide the basis for follow up detailed technical and legal negotiations with a view to concluding a Final Agreement to be approved by the respective Governments.
23. In including sand as an element in the BPU, consideration was given to Malaysia’s precedent in exporting sand to Singapore, the quality and quantity available, location, royalty, issuance of license, State and Federal Government procedures, rules and regulations pertaining to the dredging of sand, related terms and conditions and the need for effective enforcement to prevent the illegal supply of sand to Singapore.
24. With regard to airspace, Singapore’s request was notsomething new as Malaysia had previously granted five privileges to RSAF before they were withdrawn in 1998. Singapore wanted Malaysia to reinstate all the privileges that it used to enjoy but with Ministry of Defence’s approval only two such privileges namely, Search and Rescue and Northern Corridor Transit, were considered. Even then the Search and Rescue privilege was offered on the basis of reciprocity. The Northern Transit Corridor privilege would also not involve RSAF’s permanent presence in Malaysia’s airspace but merely a technical presence for transit purposes.
25. At all times during the discussions, account was taken of the need to protect Malaysia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interest in applying the principle of balance of mutual benefits.
26. The Government decided to give itself some time before deciding on the BPU considering the socio-political dynamics prevailing within the country. The Barisan Nasional MPs were accordingly given a briefing on 28 March 2006 by YB Minister of Foreign Affairs to clarify the various options available to the Government. At the back of the Government’s mind was the need to make a final decision that would reflect a consensus amongst the people of Malaysia. This was very much in accordance with the principle, approach and conduct of the present leadership in dealing with important issues of interest to the Malaysian public.
27. To be more specific, the Government had Four Options to consider:-
i) The first option wasto approve the BPU and proceed with detailed negotiations to conclude a Final Agreement. The BPU could be considered as the least objectionable compromise to secure a full straight bridge to be left as a legacy for future generations. As a strong Government with more than a two thirds majority in Parliament, the Government could have gone ahead with the BPU and subsequently persuade Malaysians to accept the compromise as they begin to enjoy the convenience of a new full straight bridge after its completion.
The problem however, was to obtain a clear consensus in the short term, taking into account public sentiments and the lingering concern of being seen to be giving in too much to Singapore for the sake of a bridge to replace the Johore Causeway.
Malaysia could have offered to Singapore other concessions instead of sand and airspace. However, considering Singapore’s present immediate needs, no other concessions other than these two could be more important to Singapore.
(ii) The second option was to proceed with the scenic half bridge that would join the Singapore part of the Johore Causeway. The scenic bridge would be within Malaysia’s territory and a simplistic consideration would suggest this to be an appropriate alternative to the full straight bridge.
The biggest problem however, based on expert advice is the need to consult and obtain the necessary approval of Singapore for the relocation of PUB water pipelines in the context of the 1961 and 1962 Water Agreements and the 1965 Separation Agreement mentioned above.As a responsible member of the international community Malaysia has to abide by the various principles of international law.
Going by Singapore’s known position there is no assurance that Singapore would not request for a balance of interests involving sand and airspace before considering its approval and extending its cooperation in respect of the relocation of the pipelines along the Malaysian part of the Johore Causeway for the construction of a scenic half bridge. If it comes to this during negotiations with Singapore, it would be highly regrettable if Malaysia has to concede on sand and airspace in return for a scenic half bridge instead of a full straight bridge.
As pointed out by the Attorney General’s Chambers, Singapore could even halt the usage of theremaining Singaporean part of the Causeway by KTM on account of structural integrity upon the unilateral demolishment of the Malaysian part of the Causeway. This will directly affect the running of railway services to Singapore. Should this subsist for six months, it would attract section 4 of the Singapore Railway Transfer Ordinance (Chapter 320) and “Singapore Railway Land” (namely, KTM lands) will revert to Singapore.
(iii) The third option was to unilaterally build a scenic half bridge that could eventually be linked to become a full scenic bridge with Singapore. The same arguments as in (ii) above could apply. There is in addition no guarantee that Singapore would agree to build its side of the bridge without a balance of interests within the period of construction of Malaysia’s part of the bridge. This element of uncertainty would mean that Malaysia would eventuallyend up having to proceed with a scenic half bridge or an incomplete half bridge “waiting” to be linked by Singapore at its pleasure. Such a “hanging bridge” would no doubt become a subject of ridicule that would affect the image of Malaysia as a whole.
(iv) The fourth option was not to proceed with any bridge at all. This was finally the decision taken by the Government. If a compromise is considered too much under the first option in view of strong public sentiments, this should be the best option.
This option means that Malaysia need not have to consider lifting the ban on the export of sand and granting to RSAF the limited privileges in the use of its airspace vis-a-vis Search and Rescue and Northern Corridor Transit. Malaysia can now even consider imposing a complete ban on the export of sand to anycountry as a matter of policy if public sentiments on the issue is as strong as reflected in the media. Such a policy, backed by an appropriate national legislation, would be a strong deterrent to prevent the illegal export of sand.
The Government’s decision to scrap the bridge project would also have the advantage of preventing the two sides from being embroiled in endless political bickering and legal disputes. The decision is not necessarily a win-lose situation. Malaysia did not really lose even if it did not get the bridge. Singapore too did not look at Malaysia’s decision in terms of victory or defeat. After all, Singapore too did not get what it wanted in respect of sand and airspace.
28. The Government believes that building a bridge to connect two neighbouring countries should serve to promote friendly people-to-people contacts and interaction. Undertaking the unilateral construction of a bridge by having to resort to political and legal wrangling and disputes are not necessarily the best way to promote bilateral relations. The Government’s decision, as stated by YAB the Prime Minister himself, was a political decision, a collective decision made by the Cabinet, taking into account all relevant factors. It is indeed the prerogative of the Government of the day to make such a decision. Organising a referendum and making a decision on the basis of such a referendum has never been the practice of the Government nor a tradition in Malaysia.
29. Given all the above considerations, circumstances and complexities, the political decision collectively made by the Cabinet was ultimately the best decision in support of Malaysia’s national interest.
30. An important lesson can certainly be drawn by this bridge episode. Bilateral negotiations between Malaysia and Singapore continue to be affected by public sentiments and emotions associated with the historical baggage arising from Singapore’s 1965 Separation from Malaysia. More must certainly must be done by both sides to allow the two countries to move ahead in nurturing mutually beneficial cooperative relations.
31. With the decision taken by the Government not to proceed with the bridge proposal and the contract given to the relevant company to complete the facilities linking the Causeway to the new CIQ complex in Johore Bahru, Malaysia’s interest would now be better served by devoting all efforts towards ensuring the maximum utilization of the facilities concerned.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Wisma Putra Putrajaya
24 April 2006
YABhg Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s response to the statement by Ambassador-at-large Tan Sri Fuzi Abdul Razak
1. Tan Sri Fuzi’s rambling explanation about the Bridge over the Tebrau Straits on April 25, 2006, serves only to convince that the Government’s priority and intention is to sell sand to Singapore. If it is not allowed to do so then Malaysia will not get its bridge. The reasoning why the bridge cannot be built comes later and it was not convincing at all.
2. The Tan Sri, as a seasoned diplomat must know that treaties or agreements solemnly entered into by two countries, as are agreements between two parties can only be modified, changed or added to if both sides agree. If there is a dispute regarding the provision or interpretation of the agreement, then there should be arbitration or reference to courts. This is a part of International Law.
3. The provisions of the Wayleave Agreements are precise and clear. There is no specific provision for consulting and obtaining the necessary approval of Singapore for the relocation of the PUB water pipelines.
4. In case the Tan Sri has not read the Wayleave Agreement, I quote below the relevant paragraph; > > “That the Licensee (i.e. Singapore) shall take full responsibility financially or otherwise for any alteration to the pipeline that may become necessary by reason of any alteration or improvements made or to be made on the Johore Causeway and on receiving not less than six months previous notice in writing from the licensors (i.e. Malaysia) shall thereupon carry out the alteration in accordance with such notice and shall have no claim for any compensation.”
5. The provision is specific for the causeway. Singapore can claim it does not apply to pipes laid on land, (although the normal practice is to regard Wayleave Agreements to apply all the way) but it cannot claim that the Agreement does not apply to the Causeway. There can therefore be no reason for not complying with the Wayleave Agreement with regard to the causeway.
6. In fact there had been many alterations to the causeway and pipelines in the past without any objection by Singapore or Malaysia.
7. Because Singapore was unwilling to make a decision on building its side of the bridge to replace its side of the causeway, I informed Singapore that Malaysia intended to build a bridge on its side to land on a part of the causeway also on its side. The Singapore side of the causeway will not be touched. The connection will continue to be between the retained portion of the Johore Causeway and the Singapore half of the causeway.
8. The Singapore PM, Goh Chok Tong in his letter to me clearly stated that “ …… if you wish to proceed immediately to replace just your side of the Causeway with a bridge, I shall accept it, though I think this is not ideal.”
9. There was no condition attached to this acceptance, no mention of sand or airspace.
10. Although the exchange was in the form of letters, it was clear and recorded in writing that I proposed to build a bridge on the Malaysian side and the Singapore PM accepted it. Thus a unilateral decision became bilateral when Singapore acceded and accepted. Any change must similarly be agreed to by both sides.
11. For Singapore to add conditions more than two years later for the supply or 50 million cubic meters of sand for 20 years and to allow the Singapore Air Force to fly in Malaysian Air Space would constitute unilateral change. Malaysia can reject the new condition and insist on Singapore honouring the agreement between the two Prime Ministers.
12. It is the Malaysian Government, which tacitly agreed to the Singapore unilateral condition when it decided that it would not build the bridge because it is not in a position to supply sand or open its airspace because of opposition by Malaysians.
13. The proper thing to do if the Government wants to build the bridge would be to seek arbitration or refer to a court if Malaysia is uncertain as to the right of Singapore to impose new conditions unilaterally. Actually there is no need to doubt Malaysian rights in its own territorial waters. But the Government of Malaysia did not do its best to reject the condition. It gave in supposedly because the Malaysian legal authorities believe Singapore is in the right. It would be interesting to read the grounds for the A.G. to conclude that Singapore has what amounts to extra territorial rights and Malaysia has no sovereign right within its own territorial waters.
14. Talks about the possibility of Singapore refusing to allow the bridge to connect with the Singapore half of the causeway is sheer nonsense. The Malaysian bridge will land on the Malaysian portion of the causeway. The only way Singapore can prevent traffic from the bridge from passing through from the Malaysian portion of the Causeway into the Singapore half is to put a barrier across the causeway border. This would certainly constitute an unfriendly act. It would be Singapore cutting its nose to spite its face. The damage to Singapore businesses would be at least as bad as that which Malaysia may suffer. But in reality Singapore needs Malaysia more than Malaysian needs Singapore. We have our ports and airports to replace Singapore ports, airports and other services.
15. All in all it is clear that the Malaysian Government is more interested in selling sand to Singapore than to build the bridge. This keenness to sell sand is strange for Malaysia does not need the proceeds from sale of sand. Despite my alleged profligate ways when I was PM Malaysia is not so bankrupt that it has to depend on selling sand.
16. That any Malaysian leader should not shudder in horror at the idea of scraping ONE BILLION SQ. METERS from Malaysian sea-beds continuously over a period of 20 years, thereby destroying all the fish breeding grounds of Malaysian seas, depriving Malaysian fishermen of their livelihood, destroying Malaysia’s marine ecology defies the imagination. That there should be any Malaysian leader willing to entertain this idea, to destroy Malaysian seas to satisfy Singapore speaks badly of his love for his country.
Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad
(27 April 2006)
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