SINGAPORE (May 21): Ever cautious, Lee Hsien Loong’s Facebook post at 10.08am on May 10 noted how the outcome of the Malaysian election held a day earlier “represents a major change in Malaysian politics”.  

Pakatan Harapan had unseated the ruling Barisan Nasional with a majority of 122 seats in parliament. And, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, with whom relations had been fractious the first time around, was back in charge.  

“While Malaysian politics are for Malaysians to decide, Singapore wishes Malaysia all the best in its political development,” Lee had written. “We look forward to developing an equally constructive relationship with the next Malaysian government, and to work with it to take our bilateral ties forward and bene fit both our peoples.” That night, Lee publicly congratulated Mahathir on having been sworn in as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister. The post was accompanied by the official congratulatory message from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which noted: “Malaysia is Singapore’s nearest neighbour and vital partner. We have had close relations and extensive cooperation with successive Malaysian governments, including the government of Tun Mahathir when he was previously Prime Minister. We look forward to cooperating with Tun Mahathir and the new Government of Malaysia to further strengthen and deepen bilateral ties, for the benefit of both our peoples.”  

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