chapter  5
36 Pages

The politics of economic competition and cooperation

Kiasu1 and ‘catch-up’ mindsets Far from easing tensions between the PAP and UMNO leadership, Singapore’s separation from the Federation of Malaysia in August 1965 heralded a reconfigured set of tensions and misunderstandings. Having blamed the other for the splintering of the Federation, PAP and UMNO politicians were determined to prove the superiority of their respective nation-building paradigms. This reciprocal balas dendam mindset appears to be an enduring feature in Singapore-Malaysia relations, most prominently highlighted during the Mahathir administration (1981-2004)2 and in the public pronouncements of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.