Apart from Malaysia, Singapore has other concerns: Balakrishnan

SINGAPORE - Singapore's important concern for now is the evolving bilateral relationship between the United States and China, although it keeps an eye on development in Malaysia.

"What happens in Malaysia is very important to us…but that is not the main strategic change that is imperative for the plans that we are unfolding right now in Singapore," said its Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

He was responding to a question on what the opportunities and challenges are after May 9, the day the Pakatan Harapan coalition won the 14th General Election, ending Barisan Nasional's over 60 years of ruling Malaysia.

"I don't date everything to May 9," Dr Balakrishnan told Malaysian journalists participating in the 13th Malaysian Journalists Visit Programme recently.

"The most important thing right now is the evolving bilateral relationship between the US and China ... It is still unfolding in front of us.

"The US and Europe are our biggest source of foreign direct investment. Any trade war, even trade tensions, is a cause of great concern for us. All that didn't change on May 9 for us," he stressed.

At the same time, Dr Balakrishnan noted that Singapore was in the midst of restructuring its economy and working on leadership succession in the next few years.

"That didn't change on May 9 for us," he said.

Dr Balakrishnan was also asked for his opinion about Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who recently said that Singapore-Malaysia ties "will improve" in the coming years.

"Yes, we are glad that he has indicated that he views good bilateral relations as something necessary and positive for us," he said.

However, Dr Balakrishnan acknowledged that from time to time in any mature relations, there will be differences in opinions.

"To me, I don't view any particular issue as something that will derail the larger strategic relationship. So yes, it's good for leaders to say they want good relations, but I look beyond individual leaders," he said.