PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak discussed a wide range of issues at the leaders' retreat, including:
Both leaders stressed the importance of strengthening bilateral economic ties, in a joint statement released after the retreat.
Cooperation between the two countries in manufacturing and industrial activities has brought benefits to Iskandar Malaysia, they noted, adding that they looked forward to the continued development of this southern corridor in Johor.
The statement also called for more discussions between the two countries on possible partnerships to promote technical and vocational education and training.
The premiers reaffirmed the importance of ensuring reliable supply of water from the Johor River to Singapore, as agreed to under the 1962 Water Agreement between both countries.
A major part of this is the timely completion of the Johor River Barrage, which will increase the river's yield. Singapore is entitled to draw 250 million gallons from the river per day.
At a joint press conference held by the two premiers yesterday, PM Lee noted that "as Johor develops, their demand for water from the Johor River will grow".
Global warming is also making the weather less predictableand will affect the reliable yield of the Johor River, he added.
"We will need to work closely together to develop more schemes to ensure reliable supply," Mr Lee said.
Transboundary haze pollution continues to be a recurring problem in the region, the leaders said.
The haze largely stems from forest fires in Indonesia.
As both Malaysia and Singapore are equally affected by the haze, Mr Lee and Datuk Seri Najib repeated their commitment to co-operate to take decisive action to resolve the problem.
This includes appropriate information sharing, and taking action to prevent and suppress early land and forest fires.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Bilateral arts and cultural collaborations between Singapore and Malaysia were welcomed by Mr Lee and Mr Najib as ways to deepen the cultural bonds between the people of both countries.
Such initiatives include discussions on the loans of artwork through the National Gallery Singapore and the National Visual Arts Gallery of Malaysia.
The leaders also said they looked forward to the Titian Budaya Singapore-Malaysia Cultural Showcase, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur this year to mark 50 years of diplomatic ties.
This article was first published on May 6, 2015.
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