SINGAPORE: The warm and close relations between the leaders of Malaysia and Singapore should be translated into tangible economic and security benefit for the people of both countries.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said his relations with his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong and that between the two governments had never been better.
"This closeness and the agreements that follow, are of tangible economic and security benefit to all Malaysians. This should be the priority of national leaders - the people's interests above all else," he said at the Singapore Economic Society annual dinner yesterday.
In his speech titled "Malaysia-Singapore: The Ties That Bind", Najib spoke on the shared history of Malaysia and Singapore relations in the last 50 years and the strong people-to-people connectivity.
However, Najib cautioned in any close relations, there would be challenges to manage the differences, citing the resolution of Points of Agreement after 20 years.
"We have a Malay proverb for it - Sedangkan Lidah Lagi Tergigit. We are like tongue and teeth. In other words, we are close and need to work together to find solutions."
He also said Malaysia and Singapore were linked in so many ways and the economies had always had a high degree of interdependence.
"We are both each other's second largest trading partner after China. Singapore remains one of the top investors in Malaysia."
On the setting up of the ASEAN Community, Najib said there were still obstacles and barriers to trade and investments.
"Member countries must refrain from introducing new measures that go against the spirit of economic integration," he said.