When Singapore and Malaysia Fought Over a Rock

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Yesterday, on 15 Jan, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak made his way down to Singapore for the 8th Leader’s Retreat. The 2 PMs, PM Lee and PM Najib, managed to finalise on the bilateral agreement on the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link), the MRT ride crossing border between Singapore and Johor Baru. The porject is estimated to be ready by 31st Dec 2024.

Here is a photo of the bromance between PM Lee and PM Najib

However, things were not always so good. The older generation should remember their disbelief when they saw what Singapore and Malaysia were fighting over back in 1979.
Tadaa…Pedra Branca, a small rock with a lighthouse on it. Just to give you more details, Pedra Branca, literally meaning bird droppings in Portuguese, is a small island consisting of granite rocks with an area of about 8,560 sq. m. It is marginally bigger than a soccer field which has a size of 7,140 sq. m.


Yes… it was such a significant issue that even the ICJ (International Court of Justice) was involved.


In the end, the ICJ rule Pedra Branca to be under Singapore, and…

Those are called the Middle Rocks, barely visible when the sea level rises.

Luckily, the issue has been somewhat resolved, in 2008, and both countries has established better ties. We will look forward to the better bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Singapore as promised by both PMs at the press conference yesterday.

We certainly do not want to return to the era of confrontational diplomacy and barbed rhetoric between our two countries

PM Najib

It’s not just the price but the reliability, the conditions, the financing, the assurance you have, the track record, your confidence in the company, what they have done elsewhere

PM Lee

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