Singapore has been hosting a visit by regional leaders from the Republic of Indonesia for the inaugural RISING Fellowship over the past four days.
Earlier today, the regional leaders met Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat, where they had a wide-ranging discussion on global and regional developments and reaffirmed our excellent bilateral relations. They discussed the diverse economic opportunities in various Indonesian regions and the regional leaders welcomed more Singapore investments in their regions.
The regional leaders were hosted to lunch on 20 November 2019 by Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong. They exchanged views on urban planning and redevelopment policies, and agreed on the need to cooperate on smart and sustainable city solutions.
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan also engaged the regional leaders when they graced the opening and closing ceremonies of the Fellowship respectively. At the closing ceremony today, Minister Balakrishnan reiterated Singapore’s commitment to deepen and broaden our ties with the various regions in Indonesia, which would strengthen trust between leaders of Singapore and Indonesia. The transcript of Minister Balakrishnan’s remarks at the closing ceremony is appended.
The regional leaders also participated in networking sessions, briefings and site visits related to Industry 4.0, investment promotion, human capital development, and tourism development.
The inaugural RISING Fellowship concludes today.
REMARKS BY MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS DR VIVIAN BALAKRISHNAN AT THE CLOSING CEREMONY OF THE INAUGURAL RISING FELLOWSHIP ON THURSDAY, 21 NOVEMBER 2019 AT THE MFA ANNEX PRESS ROOM
1 [Delivered in Bahasa Indonesia] We are very honoured that leaders from across Indonesia are participating in the inaugural RISING Fellowship which was launched by President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Indonesia and Singapore have always been close neighbours. The progress of our two countries hinges on our close cooperation, and the good relations between our leaders and peoples.
2 [Delivered in Bahasa Indonesia] The future of the world will be, we hope, a bright one. However, the current global situation is volatile. The formula which has allowed us to make progress in free trade and investments is facing various challenges. This is therefore a time for Indonesia and Singapore to cooperate even more closely, together with our neighbours in ASEAN, and for us to integrate even more than we have in the past. If we can integrate and work together as one, it will be an opportunity for us to realise the aspirations of our peoples.
3 My friends, allow me to use English now. We are deeply honoured by your presence and your participation in the inaugural RISING Fellowship. We are very grateful, because I know all of you are very busy, yet you have set aside some time to spend with us in Singapore. I know you have had a very busy three days. You have done site visits to Thong Seik Food Industry, Republic Polytechnic, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and Marina Bay Cruise Centre. I think all of you went for our Meet-the-People Session (MPS). I am not sure which MP went on past midnight as well, and I thank you for your patience! I think the point that you will notice, is because Singapore is so small, politics in Singapore is very much what we call ‘retail politics’, which means we have to knock on doors, we have to shake hands, we have to try to meet almost all our voters, and as you saw during the MPS, it is a very intimate and very close relationship which we keep with our people. I am glad that you also had the opportunity to network with our companies, and meet many civil servants from different government agencies. You have also been very generous in sharing your own insights, your own experiences. I hope that you have found the programme enriching. We have also benefited from your presence and from listening to you.
4 I would like to make three points. First, our countries are permanent neighbours, and we share a deep and enduring friendship. This is a friendship that is rooted in history, and in familial ties, and buttressed by substantive, wide-ranging and mutually beneficial cooperation. The most important thing for cooperation is trust. That we understand each other, that we understand each other’s hopes, anxieties for the future, and that we understand that we have all tried to do our best for our own citizens, and that by working together, we can achieve them even more effectively. So we need a deep reservoir of trust between the leaders and the people of the Republic of Indonesia and the Republic of Singapore. And I want to say something which I am sure you have heard many times in the last three days – that Singapore believes that a strong, dynamic, confident Indonesia is good for Singapore, good for the region, and good for the world. We want Indonesia to succeed, we believe in Indonesia, we believe in your potential. And that’s why, in fact, since 2014, Singapore has been the top foreign investor in Indonesia. This is a vote of confidence in Indonesia – confidence in your long-term potential, and your long-term growth prospects.
5 My second point is that we took special care to invite all of you here. Singapore’s engagement of Indonesia cannot be confined only to Jakarta. Obviously, I meet Indonesian Foreign Minister Ibu Retno Marsudi many times in a year, but Singapore’s relationship with Indonesia is wider and deeper than Jakarta. That is why we are committed to engaging Indonesia’s provinces, regencies, and towns, and we hope to intensify this engagement. The RISING Fellowship demonstrates our commitment to strengthen ties with Indonesia at all levels, with all provinces, with all regencies and regions, and we look forward to welcoming many more RISING Fellows to Singapore in the future.
6 My third and final point is that we are very happy with the excellent bilateral relations that we have, but this is in fact an opportunity to do even more, and we need our leaders on both sides to take a long-term, win-win perspective. As East Java Vice-Governor Pak Emil Dardak said just now, our bilateral relations are not a zero-sum game, but win-win – and this is the way we will achieve prosperity and progress for our people. This is even more important now that on the global level, the formula which has brought peace and prosperity to many parts of the world – including Southeast Asia in the last 70 years – that formula of free trade, of open doors for investment, of interdependence, that formula is facing pressure today. But it is all the more reason for us to move closer together, to integrate more together, to get our economies even more closely interdependent than ever before. So I am confident that the time you have spent with us, the exchange of ideas that you have participated in, have been an investment that is well worthwhile. I am also happy that both sides are looking for new projects that we can do in your respective regions. I really want to encourage these collaborations, and look forward to hearing more possibilities for these projects in the future.
7 Let me end by thanking Indonesia’s National Institute of Public Administration (LAN) and the Ministry of Home Affairs, as well as Singapore’s Civil Service College and the Temasek Foundation for working together with my colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make this year’s Fellowship a success. Thank you all again for your presence, we are deeply honoured. I hope you all will come back here now that you have got even more friends. Thank you, and all the very best to you.
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