Malaysia's decision to suspend dealings with Singapore has come out of the blue. The dispute over derogatory remarks by Singapore's Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew had moved off the front pages of Malaysian newspapers, and the Cabinet was reported at the weekend to have approved plans for a new link between the two countries to replace a 74-year-old causeway. Chandra Muzaffar, director of the Just World Trust, and a regular commentator on political affairs, said it was difficult to understand the thinking behind the Malaysian Government's decision but it was not inconceivable that the Government felt that Singapore leaders should be more sensitive to the interests of Malaysia. He said it was possibly intended to make Singapore realise it should 'treat neighbours more like neighbours'. 'There was a need for some sort of demonstration of our concern over what had happened,' he said. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, head of the youth wing of the United Malays National Organisation, the dominant government party, said he thought a 'lesson needed to be taught' to Singapore. Last week, the Malaysian Government formally accepted the apology tendered by Mr Lee over his remarks about Malaysia's state of Johore, but Foreign Minister Abdullah Badawi said relations between the two countries had been severely strained. Malaysian officials were subsequently irritated by a statement by the Singapore Foreign Minister, S. Jayakumar, expressing surprise at Mr Badawi's remarks. Earlier this week, the Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad seemed to be putting the affair to rest. He said he did not want to say anything more on the matter and did not wish to 'put down conditions' for Singapore.