Malayan Railway Station in Singapore

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by Loh, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. Oldhand

    Oldhand Moderator

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    I must add that Malaysia's current system of border control for passengers on this historic railway line is nothing short of bizarre!

    This must be the only place in the world where one gets "stamped in" before getting "stamped out" :eek:

    Common sense is decidedly uncommon when it comes to matters like this.
     
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    And don't forget to be "stamped"! Otherwise one can be detained for entering the country "illegally"! :D:D:D
     
  3. juara

    juara Regular Member

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    Just curious, if likesay a thief goes in to the Tanjung Pagar railway station then the Singapore police cannot go in and catch the thief inside. Is that so? Or the status of the railway station is similar to Malaysia High Commission building? Could someone enlight me?
     
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    In my view the TP station is a public place and although it belongs to Malaysia, it is subject to Singapore law, just like any other building like a shopping mall which may be owned by a foreigner. It has no so-called 'diplomatic immunity'. So if a thief is caught hiding in TP station, he will be arrested and will have to face Singapore law.

    I suppose if you visit the station you may find Singapore police officers patrolling. Certainly no foreign law enforcement forces or agencies are allowed to operate in Singapore territory unless officially approved by the Singapore govenment for whatever purpose, like a joint exercise.

    It is sort of funny, like what Linus said, that an important public area on Singapore soil, like the TP railway station, including its entire track linking Johor Baru, should belong to a foreign entity. Can you imagine our Changi airport to be owned and operated by a foreign country? Even Changi does not take up so much space as the TP station with its railway line cutting across the heart of the city.
     
  5. juara

    juara Regular Member

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    The thing is like Linus said that this railway station is in Malaysia territory. If it is true then it means that Singapore law cannot be applied in Tanjong Pagar station. To complicate the matter, what happens if a criminal has entered the "Malaysia immigration" and his/her passport has been stamped in to Malaysia, does the Singapore law still apply?
     
  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    No, the station is in Singapore territory, governed by Singapore law. That's why the Singapore government requires proper immigration procedures at the Customs checkpoint.
     
  7. juara

    juara Regular Member

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    If the railway station and its tracks is under Singapore territory, actually Singapore can "force" to change its "usefulness" of the station to something else (like the government evicted kampung settlers to be located in HDB). They can issue a legislation for that and it becomes legal. Of course they will pay compensation to Malaysia government. If this is the case, I think LKY has done it long before.

    That's why the above mentioned is not the issue. I think Malaysian still consider the railway station and its tracks it their territory and that's why if Singapore forced his way to change the status quo, they will consider it as an act of war and it will also jeopardise the supply of water from Johor.
     
  8. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    Yes, Singapore owns the railway station but it has granted a long term lease to Malaysia, effectively a perpetual lease not unlike Guantanamo Bay on Cuban soil leased to the US by Cuba in perpetuality. Singapore has no legal right to take back the station unless Malaysian Railway ceases to provide any railway service into Singapore, in which case the station and all the land revert back to Singapore.
    We can argue for ages about who is right and who is wrong and who owns what. The big picture is the station, in the eyes of a new independent nation, another "Guantanamo Bay" completely under the control of another country (Malaysia). Malaysia has a big bargaining chip here and will continue to operate the railway into Singapore even if the service is third world quality. Failure to operate the service will mean losing the perpetual lease.
    Singapore has two options to "neutralize" this uncomfortable position it is in. It can jointly develop with Malaysia the unprofitable railway in Singapore into a huge business complex, but with enough sweeteners to Malaysia to "surrender" the one-sided lease which is a real thorn to Singapore. I believe such an agreement was agreed to earlier but it was not rectified by the Malaysian Cabinet, obviously for "political" reasons to not give up its huge bargaining chip for for the future.
    Another option is perhaps unpleasant. It can use legal or other emergency reasons to stop Malaysian Railway from providing the railway service in Singapore for a time long enough that can be deemed to fall under the meaning of "not providing a railway service into Singapore". Under the terms of the lease Singapore can say the land and station will then revert back to Singapore. But this will be like an act of war.
    All of the moves by both countries are on one side to neutralize the one-sided bargaining chip of the other and on the other side to hang on to it. Malaysia has learned a lesson when its navy-another thorn on Singapore's vulnerable defence if allowed to stay-was priced out from Woodlands in Singapore many years ago.
     
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    It is not that simple and requires the co-operation and agreement of both governments. You are not dealing with an individual who is subjected to the laws of Singapore. That will be much easier as the law may have provided for such events such as compensation for compulsory acquisition or as you suggested, new legislation can be made to correct the situation.

    This is a long and contentious issue between the two governments which do not share the same views for the present. The Singapore government has made certain proposals to develop the land in and around the railway line and it is now up to the Malaysian government to followup. This will take a long time and will depend on how the relationship between the leaders of both governments will pan out. Comments in the press that the recent trip to Malaysia by MM Lee was perhaps a last chance for the leaders of both countries, particularly the younger leaders, to make amends and to renew contacts for a better future of the two countries.

    I think one opportunity that may be forthcoming is Malaysia's aspiration to develop the huge Iskandar project in south Johor and is seeking
    Singapore's participation. Singapore may in turn, request a solution to the TP station problem, among others. So both governments will have to sit down and work out a deal that is beneficial and acceptable by their leaders and peoples.

    As a small country, it is to the best interest of Singapore to respect and abide by international law. Therefore Singapore cannot forcibly evict foreign government assets and not be subjected to the same treatment by others.

    Your last paragraph may be a little far-fetched. You can own a place in a foreign country as many Singaporeans have, but that does not mean that place is your "sovereign territory" in the sense that you will attack (an act of war) those that trespass your place. You are still subjected to the laws of that country and if that foreign government wants to acquire your property there is not much you can do if the law allows it.

    However, the TP railway station is different as it is not an ordinary issue. It is a very delicate one between two sovereign governments created by the then British colonial government. In fact Singapore has every right as any other nations to protect its own territory by making sure foreign elements do not trespass. In other words, Singapore can stop trains, aircrafts and vessels from entering its territory without approval. But that is not the intention of the Singapore government and that's why it chose to do it in a more acceptable way.

    If it is your sovereign territory, you must defend it from intruders, say by installing barriers, fences or other devices to prevent others from entering and you may employ guards to ensure security is maintained throughout. Could you imagine Malaysian troops on Singapore soil guarding the TP station? Now, who is then trespassing and starting a war if such a scenario were to take place?

    As to the issue on water, Singapore has taken steps to ensure its own adequacy when the water agreements with Malaysia expire. Let's hope nothing untoward happens in the interim that will derail the process.
     
  10. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    My take is that Malaysia will never give up its 999 years railway and station lease nor will it stop using the water supply issue as a bargaining chip. Being more self reliant on water, Singapore is expanding its reservoires and catchment areas, recycle more water (NEWater) and through desalination. But all these are very expensive as Singapore's real estate is expensive and using large areas of land to catch rain water will limit its economic and efficient land utilization expansion in the distant future. The cheapest source of water is from nature (rain or snow-capped mountains) collected and stored in real estate that is plentiful, huge and cheap. I am sure great statesmen can have the cake and eat it too. Look no further than the Hong Kong solution, which had a desalination plant which cost a fortune and was shut down after Hong Kong offered China a price for water that was too good for China to ignore. This was a win-win situation agreed to long before Hong Kong reverted back to China. In Singapore's case I guess it was not as simple as just the price of water. The railway got in the way, no?
     
  11. Linus

    Linus Regular Member

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    I guess (I am not 100% certain) a similar situation would be the city of Berlin when the Wets and East Germany were still divided, where Berlin, partly belong to West Germany, was located in the middle of East Germany territory.
     
  12. Linus

    Linus Regular Member

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    If one follows the railway lines in Singapore, one will find it actually cut through the prime areas of Singapore . Other than the Tg Pagar station, most of the rail lines pass through the Bukit Timah - Hillview district where high concentration of private landed property are located. The economic value of these lands are high as fas as Singapore is concerned.

    The fact is Malaysia is in no hurry to change anything because in practical terms, it is a long stretch of linear plot of land that they cannot really do any thing out of it, but these lands affect the overall development planning for Singapore around it.

    It is a very convenient bargaining chip for Malaysia (and I would probably do the same if I was them) to get the most out of it.
     
  13. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    Of course there will be no war in the military sense because neither side will win anything, only completely wrecking their economies. But the railway and water issues are unlikely to be resolved in our lifetime, only when the two become one and even that with a constitution that says the union cannot be separated. It requires more than a few lifetimes to get diversity in race, religion, culture, education, language, etc to work really well.
     
  14. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    You certainly are wrong in the water issue. :p The Singapore government has already taken the right steps to being self-sufficient. Not only that, Singapore is now selling water technology to the world and adding this venture as another foreign economic wing.

    What it means is that water cannot be used as a bargaining chip against Singapore. I wonder whether a reverse situation can take place in future when Singapore will supply water instead of receiving water.

    The two came together as one and the smaller was forced to be divided again as two, with the conviction that Singapore will forever be independent.
    You must be dreaming! :D:D:D
     
    #34 Loh, Jul 15, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009
  15. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    Yes, Singapore is now buying less water, as a percent of total consumption, from Malaysia. The reason for this is not due to any water technology Singapore has. It is more a case of survival which requires that it becomes less dependent of Malaysia's water because water became too political. Singapore at one time even made threats of "serious consequences" (war?)should Malaysia cut off its water supply.
    But being more self-sufficient in water comes at a very high costs. You can feel it in your pockets and see it on your water bills-perhaps one of the most expensive water in the world. Just like the rickety railway that is completely out of place among expensive real estate, having large areas of land as water catchment areas is a very high cost premium to pay for water self-sufficiency. Also it cannot completely stop buying water from Malaysia, just enough to lessen the "political" threat. If Singapore were to draw all its water from domestic sources like catchment areas, NEWater, and desalination, with no imports from Malaysia, what happens if there is a prolonged period of no rain?
     
  16. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Thankfully Singapore has the technology, expertise and resources to produce safe drinking water on its own and over time the cost of production will reduce with better technology and research. Our people can still afford to pay for water and water has increasingly become another source of income for Singapore as it sells its technology to the world.

    I'm no expert on clean water production, but I know Singapore is sparing no effort to find ways to capture every drop of water available and not allow it to go to waste. And Singapore is succeeding and is able to make a contribution to the world, undeveloped and developed countries included.

    You need not have to worry for Singapore over the water issue. We will be there when the need arises, not only to overcome previous shortcomings but to be ahead of the field. Water is no bargaining chip against us anymore. On the contrary, we can help others with water - that's the difference that Singapore can make. :)
     
  17. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    Yes, Singapore has done well to reduce the water threat from its neighbour. But let us be clear here : Singapore is in no position to sell water to anyone, because it has no rivers, no natural lakes, no snow-capped mountains, and most serious of them all not enough real estate to hold huge quantities of water. It still cannot do without water from Malaysia. To cut off this link will be suicidal. It is the only water source that is not dependent on rainfall. The key for Singapore is to have a diversity of water sources. What Singapore can do and profit from is to share with others and also make some money in the process of water management, very useful in countries or places that are or will be faced with similar predicaments.
    The Singapore minister of the environment and water resourses summed up the country's water situation in a more balanced view in his feb 9, 2009 speech in parliament. In short, Singapore is short of water and it has to make every drop count. I like its mindset to treat water like rare precious metals, starting with efficiency labels/ratings for flushing toilets. Like they say in the oil industry, a gallon saved is a gallon of new water! But I hope they will also make it illegal to have bath tubs, which use too much water, and mandate the use of a specially designed shower head, with a grade 1 efficiency savings, that will dispense water at half its usual rate and will cut off after 5 minutes. In Hong Kong some badminton courts have showers that cut off after every 1 minute. Can you do with a one minute shower?
     
  18. Oldhand

    Oldhand Moderator

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    This thread has travelled a long way from the railway station to water :p

    Your optimism is contagious but the reality is quite distant.
    Water is still a bargaining chip - and it's a very big chip too.

    As of June 2009, Singapore imports 40% of its water from Malaysia.
    The rest is from the Newater project, rainwater capture schemes and the desalination plant.

    The point of concern here is that 40% is no trivial percentage.
    For Singapore, water will remain a Malaysian mercy for quite a while.
     
  19. juara

    juara Regular Member

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    Don't worry after contract with Malaysia expires, Singapore has already another ready seller, Indonesia. Bintan & Batam is ready to sell. Just like the natural gas. No politics attached. Of course, Singapore cannot anymore buy the water with RM 3 cents per gallon.

    Whatever the technology Singapore has, it will never be sufficient. Unless, it wants to burn the pocket of its population then you can salinate sea water, use recylce water. If that's the case water will be ransomed and its price will be more expensive than fuel
     
    #39 juara, Jul 15, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009
  20. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    I'm not talking about now. I'm talking about when the water agreements expire, we'll be there. :D

    In any case, you are right. This thread has gone way off boundaries and I suggest it is pointless to go any further.
     
    #40 Loh, Jul 15, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009

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