Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam on closer Singapore-Malaysia ties

By Nur Ashikin Abdul Aziz

SINGAPORE, May 6: His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, King of Malaysia, has played a crucial role in advancing ties and friendship between Malaysia and Singapore, says Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Tharman said Singapore looks forward to continue working closely with His Majesty, a close and longstanding friend of the republic, to deepen the relationship between the two neighbouring nations.

“Speaking on behalf of all Singaporeans, we are deeply honoured that Your Majesty has decided to make your first State Visit as King of Malaysia to Singapore.

“Under Your Majesty’s leadership and with your strong support, we can jointly raise Singapore-Malaysia relations to the next level of cooperation and friendship,” Tharman said in his speech at the State Banquet held at The Istana, here today.

The State Banquet was hosted by Tharman in conjunction with His Majesty and Her Majesty Raja Zarith Sofiah, Queen of Malaysia’s state visit to Singapore.

Meanwhile, the Singapore Head of State said the Causeway, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, is a timely reminder of how the busiest land crossing in the world is not just a physical connection between the two countries but also a symbol of permanent bonds.

“Let us build on these bonds as we look ahead to the 60th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations next year. As with all neighbours, we do have issues to work through, but we should not let them alter the vitality of our overall relationship,” he said.

Tharman said the two countries should continue to find mutually beneficial and sustainable ways to move forward on these issues, while focusing on many positives and new areas of cooperation.

The Singapore President also said it is critical that partnership between Malaysia and Singapore as likeminded countries and founding members of ASEAN, is strengthened amidst a world of growing great power rivalries and the erosion on the rules-based international order. 

Tharman also added that as Malaysia prepares to take on the ASEAN Chairmanship next year, he is confident that the two countries will continue to work well together to maintain ASEAN’s unity, centrality and relevance. 

He said last year, Singapore and Malaysia announced several new agreements to strengthen cooperation in various areas including key initiatives such as the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (JS-SEZ) but the two nations’ bond go deeper than economic cooperation, encompassing areas such as cultural heritage, food, and sports.

Sultan Ibrahim and Raja Zarith Sofiah arrived in Singapore today for a two-day state visit to the republic.

The state visit, the first since His Majesty’s ascension to the federal throne on Jan 31, is at the invitation of the Singapore President.