In light of new recent developments surrounding 1MDB, some have expressed concern at Singapore’s signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Singapore-Malaysia High Speed Rail (HSR).

Why is Singapore doing business with an allegedly corrupt government whose prime minister is under pressure for alleged fraud, they say.

Two points.

1) Eh, please lah. You think corruption is a new thing in Malaysia meh?

Let’s put it this way, Malaysia is a country that has always been plagued by corrupt – that is a constant. And we have always been doing business with them.

2

(Source: Transparency International and TradingEconomics.com)

The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

 So how is this any different from previous agreements with the Malaysian government? You mean as long as Malaysia has a corrupt PM, we cannot do any business with them?

Wah, then we literally have to wait long long.

 2) Small states do what they must to survive

Sure, the man might very well be a corrupt dictator. But even so, he is someone Singapore has to work with. No two ways about it.

Chances are, Najib will remain in power for the foreseeable future. His coalition won big in the recent Sarawak state elections, and his party won two by-elections last month with big margins. The Malaysian opposition is in shambles and is mired in infighting. Like it or not, Najib will probably win the next Malaysian GE (due by mid-2018).

It wouldn’t be very practical to stop all major bilateral agreements and projects until Najib is out of power, tio bo?

Even the US have propped up dictators and removed democratically elected governments due to “national interests”. Big country also must sometimes put self-interests above morality, let alone small countries like Singapore.

That is all.

The end.