Ties with M’sia like ‘flowering fruit tree’

Ties with M’sia like ‘flowering fruit tree’
FRESH: PM Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak at the Agrobazaar store, which sells Malaysian agriculture food products.

SINGAPORE - Fruit and fresh Malaysian produce provided the setting as the prime ministers of Malaysia and Singapore spoke of the close ties between the two countries on Wednesday.

As they jointly officiated at the opening of the Agrobazaar Malaysia outlet at Sultan Gate, off Beach Road, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore looked forward to deepening its relationship with Malaysia.

In his opening remarks, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the Agrobazaar was "a testament to the strong and enduring relationship" between the two countries.

Common Heritage

"I can think of few better places than Singapore, which attracts so many international visitors, and which we share a common culinary heritage with. We may occasionally differ on terminology, but Singaporeans and Malaysians taste with one tongue," he said.

Mr Najib added that a fifth of Malaysia's agro-food products - worth more than a billion US dollars - are exported to Singapore annually.

Agrobazaar is an initiative by the Malaysian Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry, and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority. It features a selection of fresh fruit and products from Malaysia.

PM Lee said Singapore looked forward to deepening interactions between the two countries.

Such close interactions can, however, result in issues arising from time to time, he said. He likened the friendship to a "flowering fruit tree" that will have to be "continually nurtured and tended to", reported The Straits Times online.

"Sometimes, we enjoy the low-hanging fruit, or even wait for the durians to fall. But sometimes we have to work harder to climb the tree and pluck the coconuts from the top," he said.

He added that if both sides kept lines of communication open, "then we can manage anything that comes along".

This article was first published on August 28, 2014.
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