'Big dreams' for future of Singapore and Malaysia

'Big dreams' for future of Singapore and Malaysia
President Tan at the ceremonial welcome with (to his left) Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and (behind them) Mrs Mary Tan and (partially hidden) Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah Haji Hamidun, and PM Najib Razak with his wife Rosmah Mansor.

KUALA LUMPUR - With ties in an excellent state, Singapore and Malaysia are now "dreaming big together" to forge a better future for their peoples, said President Tony Tan Keng Yam yesterday as the Malaysians rolled out the red carpet for his first state visit to their country.

It reflects the new era in their bilateral relations, which Dr Tan traced to the close partnership in recent years between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.

Both leaders meet yearly for a retreat that has led to major agreements like the historic land swop deal in 2010 involving Malaysian Railway land in Singapore, and a 2011 agreement on the joint development of projects in Singapore and Iskandar Malaysia.

This bond has had a rippling effect, with cooperation extending across many fields, including transport, communications, arts, culture and education, the President said at a state banquet hosted by Malaysia's King and Queen at Istana Negara last night.

Similarly, the private sectors of both sides have "built on this confidence", he noted.

"Our countries now have greater stakes in each other's success," he said, adding that projects like the proposed high-speed rail between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will further enhance economic and people-to-people interactions.

"We are dreaming big together, so our peoples will gain an enriching and secure future together," he said.

The 73-year-old President, who has visited Malaysia many times in various capacities, also reflected on the changes: "I have watched the country transform over the years, making great strides in social and economic development."

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