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.
It is crucial that this common heritage be passed down to future generations, he added.
He was re-affirming the strong relations between the neighbours at a state banquet for Malaysia's Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Alhaj Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and his wife at the Istana.
Earlier in the day, the Agong and his wife Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Sultanah Hajah Haminah Haji Hamidun received a ceremonial welcome at the Istana.
Dr Tan, in his speech, said the common past makes it "especially fitting" for the Agong, as Supreme Commander of the Malaysian Armed Forces, to make a stop at Reflections at Bukit Chandu tomorrow. The museum honours the Battle of Pasir Panjang, where some 1,400 outnumberedMalay Regiment troops made a stand against the Japanese. "Such sacrifices by our forebears are well worth our remembrance and reflection," said the President.
Cooperation between the two countries has grown, he noted.
Dr Tan said the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail, the Rapid Transit Link with Johor Baru, and Singapore's cooperation in Iskandar Malaysia are collaborations that will let both sides realise their combined potential.
In his speech, the Agong said he was confident the various initiatives agreed on by both prime ministers would continue to improve connectivity between their countries and bring their economies and peoples closer together.
"Both countries should continue to promote interaction among our peoples, especially our younger generation so as to ensure that the friendship will be much stronger in the years to come," he said.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching will call on the royal couple today.
This article was published on May 20 in The Straits Times.
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