JOHOR BARU: The recent spat between Malaysia and Singapore is causing uneasiness among Johoreans. Many Malaysians here feel that both countries should meet at the negotiation table as soon as possible.
Andes Wong, 32, a Malaysian who visits Singapore frequently, said both countries have a long history of good relationship that should not be marred by a maritime or airspace dispute.
“I believe we can come to a win-win situation which will benefit all sides,” he said yesterday.
He said many Malaysians and Singaporeans cross over to both countries every day and both governments have gained revenue from this.
“I believe both governments can find ways to cool things down for the betterment of the people,” Wong said.
Saiful Ahmad, 47, who travels daily to Singapore for work, said an amicable solution was the best way.
“I am worried about my livelihood. I cannot afford to lose my job if the situation worsens and both countries restrict the movement of people,” he said.
Justin Seow, who is studying at the Nanyang Technological University, said he is troubled.
“I hope the bilateral relations will not worsen. The question arises whether the people of the two nations will be blinded by pure nationalism or they will consider things from a rational level,” he said.
He does not think the dispute would cost Malaysians their jobs in the republic but it all depends on the city-state’s response if the dispute escalated.
Johor Indian Business Association president P. Sivakumar is shocked that the situation has reached this point, adding that the business communities of both countries are monitoring the situation.
He said both countries should de-escalate and find an amicable solution to the issues including water, airspace and sea boundaries.
“As neighbours, both countries should live in peace with each other.
“If both sides are unable to reach an agreement, they should bring this to the ICJ (International Court of Justice),” Sivakumar said.
Meanwhile, Singaporean Khairina Mohamad said both governments should come up with a win-win solution that would benefit both Malaysia and Singapore, especially their citizens.
“I feel that prolonging the quarrel will just affect businesses in both countries,” she said.
Khairina, who spends every weekend in Johor, also shared what she loved about Malaysia – food, culture and apparel.
“I find joy in exploring uniqueness and I think many Singaporeans do as well,” she said.