SINGAPORE - The ties between Singapore and Malaysia extend far beyond material interests, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said yesterday, citing their shared history which includes the turbulent days of World War II.
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Here is the speech by President Tan at the state banquet on May 19:
My wife and I are delighted to welcome Your Majesties, Your Royal Highness and distinguished members of your delegation, to Singapore.
Your Majesties, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the gracious welcome that Your Majesties extended to my wife and me during our State Visit to Malaysia last September.
Our visit impressed upon us Malaysia's success in achieving rapid economic growth, while preserving its heritage. The visit to the Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum in Malacca was a poignant reminder of the shared culture between our countries. We also have fond memories of meeting the children at the Permata Negara Nursery in Putrajaya. It was a meaningful and enjoyable visit. We are very happy to have this opportunity to reciprocate your generous warmth and hospitality.
Bilateral relations are on a strong footing. This is underscored by our respective State Visits and, most recently, by the successful 5th Malaysia-Singapore Leaders' Retreat last month. Our leaders have very frequent exchanges with each other and people-to-people ties are strong.
These interactions both draw on and add to our deep reserves of trust and goodwill.
Cooperation between our countries has grown from strength to strength. In recent years, we have managed to settle long-standing differences. Now, we are making progress on the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail link, and the Rapid Transit Link between Johor Bahru and Singapore.
These initiatives will pave the way for enhanced connectivity between both sides.
On the economic front, Malaysia and Singapore remain among each other's top trading partners. Cooperation in this area will continue to deepen, especially with our cooperation in Iskandar Malaysia. Such collaboration will further integrate our economies and help us deal better with the challenges of global competition.
Together, we can realise our combined potential and achieve better lives for our peoples.