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Opinion
Andy Mukherjee

Malaysia-Singapore Union Flickers Back to Life

The election shock may give fresh currency to an idea raised repeatedly by the late Lee Kuan Yew.

Singapore’s then-Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew (right) meets with then-former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Kuala Lumpur in 2005.

Singapore’s then-Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew (right) meets with then-former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Kuala Lumpur in 2005.

Photographer: Bazuki Muhammad/AFP/Getty Images

Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore, was a canny politician, an extraordinary statesman and an astute analyst of geopolitics. At times it was hard to tell which hat he was wearing.

That seems to have been the case when, speaking to the press in 1996, a little more than three decades after his city was ejected by Malaysia and forced to become a nation-state, Senior Minister Lee boldly speculated on the idea of a re-merger.