IN the Malaysian state of Johore Bahru, Singaporeans get blamed for everything from bad driving to the high price of durians. Johore residents claim Singaporeans leave them with the second-best fruit, vegetables and even second-rate housing. 'If we go to the wet market and a trader tells us that a durian costs M$12 [HK$37] and we complain that it is too much, the trader will tell us that he can always sell it to a Singaporean,' said one disgruntled resident. For the Johoreans, residents of the Lion City are arrogant, act superior and push up prices in shops and real estate. Although Johoreans largely have Singaporeans to thank for providing their state with investment and helping to bring prosperity, such thanks is largely set aside to heal their dented pride. Singapore Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew further opened the can of worms in a court affidavit which said Johore was 'notorious for shootings, muggings and car jackings'. Mr Lee was forced to apologise for his remarks not once but twice during the week-long spat. Johore state does have a high crime rate - the fourth highest in the country. In fact, the day the controversy over Mr Lee's comments erupted, a policeman was shot dead while trying to apprehend a motorcyclist. When asked, locals will admit the problem, but when it is Singaporeans pointing the finger it is a different matter. Today living costs in Johore Bahru are higher than in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur. Even with the recent introduction of a M$100,000 tax on foreigners buying property in Malaysia, Singaporeans are still buying heavily across the border. If you go to Singapore and ask locals what they think of neighbouring Johore, some have the impression it is overrun with criminals and that Malaysia is plagued with dengue fever. The English like to playfully joke about the Irish, the French about the Belgians, and Hong Kongers about the mainland Chinese. But the rising antagonism between Singaporeans and Johoreans is no joking matter.