Summary of bilateral relations between Singapore and Malaysia

Summary of bilateral relations between Singapore and Malaysia
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (R) shakes hands with Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak after a news conference after their bilateral leaders retreat meeting in Singapore May 5, 2015.

SINGAPORE - The Prime Ministers of Singapore and Malaysia met on Tuesday to discuss bilateral relations and partnerships during the annual leaders' retreat in Singapore.

Ministers from the neighbouring countries also met on the sidelines of the 6th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat to enhance bilateral co-operation.

The next 7th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat will take place in Malaysia next year.

Here are the key points that were discussed between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Najib Razak:

Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project

The Singapore HSR terminus will be sited at Jurong East, which fits with Singapore's overall plans to transform the area into its second Central Business District. The target date to complete the HSR project by 2020 will have to be re-assessed given the scale and complexity of the project, according to a joint statement released by both countries. Read more here.

Iskandar Malaysia - Transport

Besides the HSR project, the Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMC) is exploring measures to enhance connectivity between the two countries, such as reducing congestion at the Causeway and the Singapore-Malaysia Second Link.

Technology will play a big role to achieve this goal, with Singapore fully automating clearance for the motorcycle counters at the Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints by 2016, up from the current 25 per cent. This will speed up motorcycle immigration clearance by up to 30 per cent.

Train services between Johor Bahru and Woodlands Train Checkpoint will also be increased while biometric features will be added at checkpoints to facilitate immigration clearance.

Additionally, there are plans to increase the number of ferry services between Singapore and Malaysia.

Iskandar Malaysia - Economy

Singapore and Malaysia will work towards implementing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) measures by the end of this year and deepen economic integration beyond 2015.

The AEC seeks to transform ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and freer flow of capital by 2015.

The Industrial Cooperation Work Group (ICWG) under the JMC will also look to enhance synergy between Singapore and Malaysia in certain sectors, strengthening the Singapore-Malaysia ecosystem in the process.

Defence and Homeland Cooperation

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Malaysian National Security Council (NSC) inked a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Developing Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) at the sidelines. This will strengthen and promote co-operation between the two agencies on USAR training, procedures and doctrines.

Earlier in March, Defence Ministers from both countries signed a letter of intent to step up co-operation through intelligence exchanges, and addressing common security concerns such as the threat of ISIS to the region between the two defence establishments.

Manpower

ITE Education Services (ITEES), which is owned by the Institute of Technical Education, will be collaborating with Malaysia's Ministry of Youth and Sports to promote Technical and Vocational Education and Training, with the aim to create a skilled labour force. 

Tourism

The Sarawak State Government and Singapore are currently working on the Sematan Riviera cruise project.

Water

Works are underway to ensure the timely completion of the Johor River Barrage. This will ensure a reliable water supply to Singapore from the Johor River as provided under the 1962 Water Agreement.

Haze

Malaysia and Singapore, which are both affected by the recurring haze pollution, will continue to exchange information to prevent and suppress land and forest fires. Both countries will also seek to strengthen the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.

Arts

To mark fifty years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Malaysia, there will be a Titian Budaya Singapore-Malaysia Cultural Showcase held in Kuala Lumpur in 2015.

The National Gallery Singapore and the National Visual Arts Gallery of Malaysia will also be exchanging artworks as part of arrangements to deepen arts and culture collaboration.

grongloh@sph.com.sg

Here is a video of PM Lee's speech by the Prime Minister's Office:

 

Jurong is set to be transformed. The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) terminus will be sited at Jurong East. Announced this today after the Singapore-Malaysia Retreat with PM Najib Razak. The HSR will draw Singapore and Malaysia closer, and the terminus will stimulate developments all around it. Jurong East will become a second Central Business District. We also discussed improving the CIQ on both sides of the Causeway, and developing the Johor River to ensure a reliable supply of water. (Click here for details: http://bit.ly/1QhGDvD) It was a good Retreat. Our bilateral ties are warm and we are working well together. Long may this continue. – LHL(PMO Video by Alex Qiu and Chiez)

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday, 5 May 2015

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