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Saturday, 20 February 2016

The Untold story of the Crooked Bridge: Mahathir's unreasonable dendam

In his entire 22 years as Prime Minister, Mahathir had never hidden his distaste and hatred for Singapore.

Conflicts and heated arguments between the two countries never stopped and was a recurring issue whenever domestic politics needed a bogeyman.

But the crooked bridge was supposed to be the one final revenge for Mahathir over a humiliation so great that he could never live down or forget.

In 2003, in one of his last acts just before ending his 22-year tenure as PM, Tun Dr Mahathir announced that Malaysia would go ahead and build a crooked bridge.

The other last act before leaving power was when Mahathir mysteriously and very quietly directly awarding a lucrative sports betting license worth billions to his friend for just RM25m - but that's another story.

The failure of his successor Abdullah Badawi to push ahead with replacing the Causeway led Dr Mahathir to viciously attack him in 2006. The move, observers say, eventually pushed Tun Abdullah to resign in 2009.

The still influential Dr Mahathir now claims that Datuk Seri Najib Razak also failed to keep his promise to build the crooked bridge, and has asked Najib to step down.

In a TV interview in April 2015, Najib disclosed that this was one of the chief reasons why relationships between both of them broke down leading to Najib not speaking to Mahathir for 6 months.
He (Dr Mahathir) had two things he wanted me to do. He wanted me to do away with BR1M and the Johor crooked bridge,” Najib said during a televised interview on TV3.
“I respect Tun, just like I respect all the people,” he added.
“I gave my views on these issues. I see it as discussions between two individuals... It is quite healthy to have a difference in opinion, but in the end, I still have to be accountable to the rakyat and the party.
“Most of these issues were brought to Cabinet and Cabinet will decide on it,” Najib

In response Tun Mahathir replied in his own interview that Najib broke his promise to build 'crooked bridge'
“Not even one of the things that I had expected would be done, after I stepped down, has been done.” 
“Najib still continues to do whatever he wants to do and I feel things (that he’s doing) are not right.” said Mahathir
But why did Mr Najib not proceed with the crooked bridge?

Mr Najib and his Singaporean counterpart Mr Lee Hsien Loong had agreed instead to building a third link between Johor and Singapore. According to Dr Mahathir, Mr Najib told him that Malaysia could not proceed with the crooked bridge as there was an agreement not to touch the Causeway unless both sides agreed.

Mahathir had disclosed that Najib had claimed, during a one on one meeting between them after dinner one day, that there was an agreement between both countries on the causeway and that meant the crooked bridge could not be built unless both sides agreed.

“I asked him, ‘show me the Agreement’,” said Mahathir, implying that there was no such Agreement and that Najib had lied. “Are we an independent nation or a colony of Singapore?’, I asked him.” said Mahathir.

It is thus clear that before Mahathir started his attacks on Najib and wanted him removed for all sorts of reasons, this Crooked bridge was the main reason for Mahathir's anger.

But why does Dr Mahathir want the dang crooked bridge so much?

It boils down to Mahathir's personal humiliation, hatred and anger.

If you examine the designs of the crooked bridge, Mahathir had wanted to use the crooked bridge to stop the water pipelines connecting Singapore to Malaysia which then then carried 50% of Singapore's life-giving water. Let the ramifications of that sink in while you think about it from Singapore's perspective and why they would refuse to build the crooked bridge.

It was really Mahathir's way of punishing Singapore.

Now, exactly what gives? To answer that, we need to reach further back into history ( (Much of this article was adopted from Andrew Gomez's writings here) - Specifically, the years of 1997 and 1998 and the Asian Financial Crisis.

The then-prime minister was in a quandary. He had sacked his deputy, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and to make matters worse, the country was experiencing a financial crisis unlike any other before. 

Currency speculators had devalued the Malaysian ringgit to a fraction of its previous value. Attempts by BNM to prop up the ringgit's value had been expensive and ultimately futile. Malaysia was virtually bankrupt. 

There was no more money left due to Mahathir and Anwar's mismanagement of the economy during the 1990s.

With metaphorical hat in hand, Dr Mahathir made a visit to Singapore to meet with PM Goh Chok Tong. 

Although unreported in the Malaysian media, Singapore's media nevertheless broke the news that Dr Mahathir had asked Singapore for a USD5 billion loan, as Malaysia was in dire straits financially. 

If you don't believe me, have a look at this November 2008 video of Mahathir asking Singapore for financial help on live TV - which of course was never reported in Malaysia.

Look at how sheepish Mahathir and Pak Lah looked when asking Singapore for help despite Tun M whacking Singapore for decades.

Other than Singapore newspapers, Hong Kong media also reported then:

It was the first top-level meeting between the two countries since relations, testy even before the added pressure of the Asian financial crisis, started to deteriorate rapidly earlier this year. They last met in April. 
Dr Mahathir said he intended to raise funds from neighbouring Singapore, though he didn't say how much or what the money would be used for. 
``We need to raise some funds from Singapore,'' he said, adding that Singapore could be of help to Malaysia ``during the economic crisis''. Mr Goh had little to add except that ``we are resuming a discussion'' and that he was pleased by Dr Mahathir's invitation to meet with him.
PM Goh responded positively. Singapore was willing to lend Malaysia the five billion but with "conditions". It remains unclear exactly what these conditions were as only Dr Mahathir and PM Goh were privy to the details.

Dr Mahathir in any event decided that these conditions were unacceptable and returned to Malaysia empty-handed. Indonesia's President B.J. Habibie had been closely observing these matters and pronounced loudly that “a friend in need is a friend indeed”.

Although the IMF had offered Malaysia a similar loan, that too came with IMF-imposed conditions and obligations which Dr Mahathir similarly refused to accept.

It is like this. Singapore did not ask us to go borrow money from them. When you go and ask someone to loan you money, you are going based on a weak position and can expect conditions.

It is up to you to fulfill these conditions or not. No one is forcing you.

It is not a big heart that Tun M went to borrow money from Singapore but sheer desperation.

The trick is not to get into this situation in the first place!

Let's put it on a personal basis. Let's say you one of your friends who is not so close (or even enemy) comes to loan money from you. And then you give conditions for loaning the money.

The other person trying to loan money from you don't like your condition - and then as dendam, he or she attacks you day in and day out.

Ultimately, as we may now recall, the ringgit was made non-convertible outside Malaysia. Effectively, the ringgit overnight became utterly worthless in every country on earth except for Malaysia.

Over time, Malaysia's financial situation stabilised. Malaysia's relationship with Singapore, however, had irretrievably broken down. The good doctor's ego had been severely bruised by his having to "beg" and his humiliation in Singapore.

Subsequently, relations between the two nations became even more acrimonious. Malaysian media regularly carried negative news about Singapore.

The hidden message was made very clear when Dr Mahathir proclaimed “there's more than one way to skin a cat”.

The Lion City, no doubt bristling at the threat, shot back via professor Jayakumar: "No cat will simply lie down and wait quietly to be skinned."

When plans for the demolition of the Causeway were revealed and the images of the new crooked bridge were made public, the penny dropped.

Before resigning as PM, Dr Mahathir obtained the assurance of his successor Pak Lah that the crooked bridge would become a reality.

Meanwhile, Singapore now realised that their only source of national water was no longer certain although water supply contracts were still in force. Heavy expenditures were made on desalination technologies as well as "NEWwater" which was purified raw sewage that was "clean enough to drink" and desalination plants.

The extent of which Singapore is now almost self-sufficient in water if they wanted to be and the threat of this crooked bridge and the stopping of water from Malaysia is no longer effective on Singapore.

And plus, Malaysia cannot simply cut water supplies to 6 million people - which is what construction of the crooked bridge would do. This would certainly cause an international incident and possibly war.

This means that the purpose of the crooked bridge is of no more and there is little reason any more why Najib would want to build this and destroy our relationship with our neighbour.

And Dr Mahathir never got his revenge for the humiliation of having to be a “beggar” - which is a reason why Mahathir is so angry with Najib then and wanted him to be removed for "breaking his promise".

All it boils down to is that Tun Mahathir's initial anger and insistence in removing both Pak Lah and Najib was all due to both Prime Ministers denying Tun Mahathir his revenge and dendam by not building the crooked bridge.

In an interview by the Johor Sultan just recently in Dec 2015, it is clear that the Johor Sultan is well-aware of Mahathir's intentions and "hati dendam" when he said:
Najib is deeply con­cerned about is­sues af­fect­ing Jo­hor be­cause of our prox­im­ity to Sin­ga­pore, which is a strate­gic part­ner to Jo­hor. Both of us be­lieve that Jo­hor and Malaysia will ben­e­fit from the on­go­ing de­vel­op­ment and when the Kuala Lumpur-Sin­ga­pore fast train is built, the ben­e­fits will be enor­mous. 
I do not want to dig up the past nor do I wish to take a swipe at any politi­cian, ac­tive or re­tired, but the PM un­der­stands and ap­pre­ci­ates the need to work closely and not to re­peat the past. 
I find it hard to un­der­stand the ra­tio­nale or ir­ra­tional­ity of any Malaysian leader who wants Malaysia to quar­rel with Sin­ga­pore. It’s what I called crooked thinking.
"Active or retired leader with Crooked thinking that dislikes Singapore" I wonder who that is?

His Highness, the Johor Sultan certainly knows.

It is very unbecoming and unreasonable for an ex-Prime Minister living in the twilight of his life still holding on to this malicious dendam and anger - to the extent of wanting to destroy our country's relationship with our neighbour unnecessarily, create chaos in Malaysia's politics which hurts our economy and wanting to remove two democratically-elected Prime Minister.

All because of his own humiliation and his subsequent dendam.

Let me para-phrase Yoda here:

"Dendam is the path to the dark side. Humiliation leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering".


  1. LSS ni master spinner.

    Jelas dari beberapa penulisannya, dia diupah oleh Najib untuk menceritakan keburukan Tun Mahathir.

    LSS pun memang semua orang tahu mendapat dedak dari Najib.


    1. Jawapan daripada orang yang tak dapat berbahas dengan fakta..

      Allo my are sore LOSER la

      - SSR Putrajaya

    2. Hello Brader,

      Jgn jumud sangat bila bagi pendapat. Show us your arguments with valid links, info and such. Then let all readers make up their own bloody mind la. Commenting with 1-2 liners with hollow statements, topped it up with name calling and such will only reflecting how low your thinking is.

      Come on. Grow up.

    3. Still waiting for your counter argument.

    4. Kalau makan dedak ni kan binatang. Hai kesian LSS ni kena kecam tapi bukan dia keseorangan sbab banyak yg menyokong. Hai hai banyak juga yg makan dedak oi. Jadi susahlah kalau kita nak berfakta dgn binatang.

  2. i think young people like u dont understand what is actually this so called 'bi-lateral relation of two countries'. to make matter worse, u had this bad feeling about mahathir. of course u do have that, dont deny it. waste time only.

    when u are managing a country, it is very different with your household matter. its not like 1+1 necessarily be 2. under mahathir, 1+1 is either two or more. when he started PLUS - very good initiative - everyone was saying he was crazy in some sort. the project - infrastructure and of course the contract rewarded - was a success and now you can go back on festive seasons in better conditions.

    u are not belong to the age of travelling old trunk roads from KL to Penang, do you? so u cannot appreciate PLUS much. u dont experience the long hours going to KL and when the day turned night some travellers simply stop driving and spend the night on the sides of the roads. not to mention the animal crossing unexpectedly and lives lost. when i say appreciate i meant the infrastructure and the contract given. towns bloomed and of course nowadays u can see singaporeans using it as well, strutting their posh cars and bikes. the toll is troublesome but the contract was necessary as government cannot afford to pay for it itself. u are one of the many vilified mahathir for the toll.

    so the same with managing the neighbour singapore.

    u are not born the time when things were hard and we were getting hard done by our own (then) singapore. some people say it was a mistake to let kuan yew got singapore, but many appreciate him doing the best he could at the moment and with resources within his hands.

    it takes someone with mahathirs will to compete with singapore. call it whatever u want - dendam or hate or whatever,i call it competition- but the fact that during mahathir we were at par on many things with singapore. sing dollar vs ringgit? malaysia not losing that much. eco-sport? malaysia. strategic ports? malaysia. and did u know that before najib or abdullah signed the stupid railway deal (Tanjong Pagar), the most south KTMB go is SINGAPORE? u can google the pictures and save it for your generations that they will know that. quite good pictures.

    of course we lost some during mahathir, in relation to managing the neighbour singapore. but i tell u what. singapore will only give us what they feel its not terminal to them. so after abdullah/najib signed off the Tanjong Pagar deal, what HAVE we GOT? as far i know, we havent got anything in return despite all the news billions, millions investments. but what i am sure of at the moment is, KTMB no longer go there. thats LOST of REVENUES. and revenues i dont mean about dollar and cents, but all in every matter - tourism value, and the sense of pride where people go Tanjong Pagar and all they see was KERETAPI TANAH MELAYU. so we lost out even before we gain something.

    managing a country is no child play, and u cannot have the need for any other outside people that understand us as a country, let alone any arab for that. its a different play altogether and it needs a different animal. not many can understand the whole matter. not u, looking to your writing. u dont understand it so thats why u dont have locus standi to vilify mahathir like u did.

    you know,the water deal is not just about delivering water. its about giving u the upper hand on everything or something. in these so called 'bi-lateral countries relation' it is about that - the upper hand on everything.

    mahathir gave us that.

    1. Sorry. It wasn't his idea to build the North-South Highway and never did he start building it. It started construction in 1977 and he just privatized it to his friends.

      Please stop with the often repeated propaganda that Mahathir built the NS highway:

    2. Abang, before Maha was in charge, Ringgit was literally on par with Singapore. Not 0.5.

    3. LSS........ gua gelak guling2 la bila lu cakap North-South Highway tu bukan idea Mahathir. Lu beranak tahun berapa?

      Habis sapa punya idea? Mesti lu mau cakap itu idea Najib! Or if not Najib must be the father Tun Razak. Ha Ha Ha

      Memang la Mahathir privatised the construction to who ever that he trusted. So lu mau Mahathir himself to drive the bulldozer and changkul sendiri itu tanah ka. Molo la ini so called LSS!

      Lu beranak tahun berapa?

      Lu ambik data-data sana sini to impress people yang bodoh macam lu. Bangang macam lu. Moron macam lu.

      LSS is the master spinner. MORON!

    4. Bacalah buku. Setiap kali makan propaganda zaman Tun M.

      June 1977 The construction of the North-South Expressway had begun.

      Siapa yang moron ini?

      Another thing. Between 1980 and 1985, the MHA managed to complete the construction of several phases of the project amounting to the total length of 366 kilometer or 41% out of the proposed 823 kilometer highway at a total cost of RM3.2 Billion of govt funds.
      In 1986, the entire project was transferred to the then UMNO-crony Halim Saad's UEM group even though it was M despite the fact that UEM’s offer was the most expensive, requires the highest amount of government’s financial support and has minimum revenue, currency and interest rate protection by the govt (see table) and also despite the fact that it has no experience whatsoever.

      On top of that, the existing 366km already built using govt money was injected into the now completely privately owned PLUS. And they were allowed to collect tolls from these existing roads (built using govt funds) from us to pay to complete the remaining 500km - a task which they eventually completed but at a 70% cost over-run and two years late.

      The government even funded PLUS half of the initial budget of RM3.5billion via a govt support loan.

      lu benar-benar percaya itu Halim Saad bukan kroni Mahathir ke?

    5. KL Seremban highway - The construction of the 63.4 km (39.3 mile) controlled-access expressway from Kuala Lumpur to Seremban began on 27 March 1974 as one of the Second Malaysia Plan (RMK-2) project, with the total cost of RM32.9 million.[2] It consists of 14 interchanges, 2 laybys and 6 toll plaza (Sungai Besi, UPM, Kajang, Bangi, Nilai and Seremban). Funded by a loan by the World Bank,[3] the expressway was constructed in three phases; the first phase was from Kuala Lumpur to Nilai, while the second phase was from Nilai to Seremban.[2] The third phase was the rehabilitation of the old Federal Route 1 from Kuala Lumpur to Seremban as a toll-free alternative to motorists.[2] The expressway was opened to motorists on 16 June 1982, where the Minister of Works at that time, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu himself became the first motorist to pay the toll of the expressway.[3] The Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Expressway was the first expressway in Malaysia to implement the closed-toll system in Malaysia.

      1974 itu Mahathir sudah jadi PM ke?

    6. Semasa kerajaan mencadangkan pembinaan lebuh raya ekspres jarak jauh pertama negara pada tahun 1977, kerajaan telah menjemput beberapa buah syarikat untuk membina lebuh raya tersebut. Pembinaan lebuh raya tersebut asalnya dicadangkan untuk diswastakan sepenuhnya, yang mana syarikat konsesi diberi kuasa untuk membina, mengendalikan dan mengutip tol di lebuh raya tersebut. Namun, tiada satu pun syarikat yang berani hendak membina lebuh raya tersebut. Apa tidaknya, pada masa itu ekonomi negara tidak begitu menentu disebabkan turun naik harga timah, getah dan kelapa sawit.

      Oleh kerana tiada satu pun syarikat yang berani hendak membina Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan ini, maka kerajaan tiada pilihan selain membinanya sendiri. Ia menjurus kepada penubuhan Lembaga Lebuhraya Malaysia (LLM) pada 24 Oktober 1980 mengikut Akta 231. Pada masa itu, LLM memang berfungsi bagi merancang, membina, mengendalikan, menyelenggara dan mengutip tol bagi Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan E1 dan E2. Majlis pecah tanah disempurnakan pada tahun 1981,

      1977 dan 1980, itu Mahahtir sudah jadi PM ke?

    7. the train still stops in singapore, but before the agreement, KTM has to do the money losing ride in just to retain control of the tracks' land.
      DS Najib got a wonderful deal out of singapore.
      given a choice, i'd rather bleed ktm and negotiate from a stronger position.
      do u even know how much singapore has to pay to get back the tracts of land of not much use?

    8. Mahdey mengaku dia bodoh krn tdk semak perjanjian bodoh dan bangang yg menguntungkan syarikat konsesi dan menyusahkan rakyat.Atau dia dgn waris serta kroni ada kawtim???

  3. Agree with DrMpower's opiniom. The old man Tun had done so much to this country many of which you younger generations took for granted as given.
    I simply cannot imagine if it were Anwar or Paklah or Najib were the PM during those 22 years of DrM.
    Tun was effective and exactly what malaysia needed.
    Stop you dendam to wash off his achievements.

    1. apa itu? kalau ada tulis salah ataupun bukan Mahathir dalam video itu yang meminta sedekah dari Singapura.

      Bolehlah Mahathir kata itu bukan aku tapi klon Siam.

      And the dendam is out because HIS DENDAM came out.

      Many once respected him but all his skeletons come out.

      Let me remind you that this man fought for bangsa dan agama for 22 years but when he was done, only 3 Muslim Melayu was in the top 10 richest in year 2014.

      Coincidentally, one of these 3 was his son.

      You think it was an accident?

  4. In fact his hatred started years ago when a taxi driver refuse to stop him in front of his house

  5. I once respected this man. .but the way he is attacking the PM. .is disgraceful. ..He is a hateful man. .Instead of letting us remember him for all his efforts in the 22 years. .He has totally destroyed his image and achievements

  6. Plan but not building is different between having the balls to bulldoze and build it.

    I think many people forget getting an upper hand in a poker game.why the invent the game at the first place,we never know.

    Suprise that many people forget to secure the upper hand.not saying anybody stupid,but must be seen not stupid is as equal important as well.

    God speed

  7. LSS hari tu pasal tol pun you dah tergolek dok dengan fakta. Lagi mau spin ker.

  8. Part mana dalam video tu yang Tun mengatakan beliau ingin meminjam 5billion LSS?

    1. Dalam video dia ada kata nak Singapura "help in the economic criss". That is clear.

      yang cakap nak pinjam wang itu dari laporan akhbar luar negeri termasuk Singapura.

    2. LSS, kamu dah wujud ke belum masa crisis economy tu? Apa yang singapore buat pada waktu itu? Mereka tawarkan interest yang tinggi untuk rakyat M'sia yang membuat simpanan di bank2 di spore.

      Kat atas kamu kata "If you don't believe me, have a look at this November 2008 video of Mahathir asking Singapore for financial help on live TV - which of course was never reported in Malaysia.Sekarang konar pulak, so Tolong berikan link akhbar yang melaporkan tdm nak pinjam 5 billion.

  9. He have spent 22 years keeping our sovereignty away from US/Israel, and I greatly appreciated that, but his act the past year would have undo those efforts if his smear campaign manages to get the Pakatuns into Putrajaya and in essence deliver us to the Jews on a silver dulang.

    1. Satu lagi cerita dongeng propaganda menyembah Mahathir dizaman rakyat masa itu xde pilihan mklumat.. hanya tv radio shj.. so seem he had won la the propaganda. Now baru kita tau DEB itu hanya milik Mokhzani, Mirzan, Mukhriz dn satu org kroni nya. Lagi berjuta Melayu makan asap shj. Why mahathir sgt takut dhn BR1M? Takut rakyat bypass kroni freely utk dpt rasa duit kekayaan negara? Cerita dongeng mahathir sudah tamat dan rubbished. Sorry to say it

    2. WHAT an idiotic, naive , ignorant comment! Keeping sovereignty from US/Israel?

    3. drMpower Your grammar is really atrocious.

    4. Tun M and many others are trying to rescue UMNO and BN by asking Najib to step down. If Najib were to remain as PM in GE14, you could foresee the outcome. That is what we want to avoid. The RM42 juta is real and LSS could not deny it. 1MDB is real ...who gave the green light for 1MDB to invest in the JVC with Petrosaudi bypassing the Board's directive if not Najib??

  10. LSS.....another great forensic article from u.....mahathir has nothing but hatred for almost anything not in his favour. for those of u out there who worships mahathir, pleassssse open up your mind & do some reading, dont just blindly support mahathir !!!!!

  11. A simple notation.Mahathir,the lost wisdom of once a wise man.

  12. LSS..somehow agreed on what u have wrote but on that said bridge, my opinion and with certain info, DSDM want to remove the old tambak johor in order ships can passing through the johor straits. at that time a very huge port and etc being setup at tanjung kupang purposely to be main harbour at south. correct me if i m wrong.

  13. Miss Lim. Please credit the original writer mr andrew gomez.

  14. Among all of Malaysia's PMs, Mahathir was the one who had the best opportunity - 22 years and strong oil income - to lay a strong foundation for our country.

    Instead, he concentrated on letting his cronies build quasi monopolies that allowed money to be sucked from the country and the rakyat.

    He gave the Malay people racial pride preached by BTN and sustained by oil money. But he never got them to develop the knowledge, skill and temperament needed to play their rightful part in the nation's economy. Had he done his job, the Malays wont be still weak that they continue to need special assistance.