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April 07, 2014

Joint Statement by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat in Putrajaya, Malaysia on 7 April 2014.

1.                 Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met in Putrajaya, Malaysia on 7 April 2014 for the 5th Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat.  The Leaders reviewed the progress made in bilateral relations since the Leaders’ Retreat in Singapore on 19 February 2013, and reaffirmed their commitment to a stronger and mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries.

2.                 The Leaders looked forward to the State Visit by Their Majesties the Yang DiPertuan Agong and the Raja Permaisuri Agong to Singapore from 29 April to 2 May 2014.  They expressed confidence that the visit would further enhance the excellent ties between Malaysia and Singapore.

3.                 On behalf of the people and the Government of the Republic of Singapore, Prime Minister Lee expressed his deepest sympathies over the tragic loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.  Singapore had deployed aircraft and ships to join in the search and rescue operations, and stands ready to provide further support as needed. Prime Minister Najib expressed the appreciation of the Government of Malaysia for the prompt assistance rendered by the Government of Singapore in the search and rescue operations for the missing flight.  Both Leaders agreed to explore ways for both sides to work more closely with fellow ASEAN Member States in search and rescue operations in line with the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint.

4.                 The Leaders noted with satisfaction the steady progress of the joint iconic projects by Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited in Singapore (through M+S Pte Ltd) and in Iskandar Malaysia (through Pulau Indah Ventures Sdn Bhd).  The Marina One and DUO projects in Singapore are on track for completion in 2017, while the Afiniti Medini project in Iskandar Malaysia is expected to be completed by end-2015.  The Leaders further noted that the market response to these projects has been very encouraging.

5.                 Both Leaders recognised the strategic importance of Iskandar Malaysia for both Malaysia and Singapore, and its contribution to greater cooperation between the two countries and the integration of their economies.  They looked forward to Iskandar Malaysia’s comprehensive and holistic development by leveraging on the complementarities between Iskandar Malaysia and Singapore.

6.                  Acknowledging that Iskandar Malaysia would also benefit from cooperation in manufacturing and other industrial activities, the Leaders noted with satisfaction the progress made in jointly developing industries with synergistic activities in both Singapore and Iskandar Malaysia by the Industrial Cooperation Work Group (ICWG) under the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMC).  These include UK-based metal-stockist Howco Group’s decision to build a US$20 million heat treatment facility in Iskandar Malaysia to complement its Singapore operations.  The Leaders agreed that the ICWG should continue to promote and explore more mutually beneficial economic activities, particularly in advanced materials engineering, electronics, creative services, and food industries.

7.                 The Leaders also welcomed the development of the new Nusajaya Tech Park, which is a joint venture between Ascendas and UEM Sunrise Berhad.  The 210-hectare Tech Park will cater to both multinational corporations and local small and medium enterprises in industries such as precision engineering; electronics; light and clean manufacturing; and warehousing and logistics.  The Nusajaya Tech Park is expected to create jobs in high-tech industries, providing a strong push to the development of Iskandar Malaysia.

8.                 Recognising the importance of a skilled labour force to ensure the enhancement of socio-economic development, the Leaders welcomed the on-going discussion between the various agencies of both countries for collaboration in vocational training.

9.                 The Leaders expressed satisfaction at the work of the JMC, and underlined the importance for both sides to continue working closely together to leverage on the complementarities between Iskandar Malaysia and Singapore.  They commended the endorsement by the JMC of Phase 1 of the Joint Engineering Study (JES) for the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link between Singapore and Johor Bahru at its meeting on 28 January 2014 in Singapore.  Both Leaders looked forward to the adoption of the final scheme for the RTS Link and for the JMC to proceed with Phase 2 of the JES in the interest of improved connectivity between Johor Bahru and Singapore.

10.            The Leaders also welcomed the continued work by the JMC to explore ways to address traffic and congestion issues on the Causeway as well as the feasibility of a third road link between the two countries, with a view to enhancing connectivity between Malaysia and Singapore.

11.            The Leaders noted the establishment and the good progress of the High Speed Rail (HSR) Work Group under the JMC and the endorsement of its Terms of Reference.  This will ensure steady progress of this game-changing project.  The HSR will facilitate seamless travel between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, enhance business linkages, and bring the peoples of Malaysia and Singapore closer together.  It will usher in a new era of growth, prosperity, and opportunities for both countries, and give both countries greater stakes in each other’s prosperity and success.  They urged the HSR Work Group to work diligently towards fulfilling its mandate by the year 2020.

12.            Both Leaders noted the progress of the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Technical Committee on the Implementation of the ICJ Judgment on Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge (MSJTC) which has held seven meetings so far.  Recalling their agreement at the February 2013 Leaders’ Retreat that the next step was for the MSJTC to move into the delimitation of maritime boundaries, the Leaders welcomed the decision of the MSJTC to set up a new sub-committee for this purpose, describing it as a positive step forward.

13.            The Leaders welcomed the close and continuous inter-agency cooperation on environmental issues with transboundary implications and navigational issues through platforms such as the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Committee on the Environment and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore-Johor Port Authority Operational Meeting.  The Leaders emphasised the importance of adopting best practices for addressing such areas of concern, including the implementation of mitigation measures, where appropriate.

14.            The Prime Ministers acknowledged that transboundary haze pollution is a recurring problem for the region.  The Prime Ministers agreed that Malaysia and Singapore share common interests on this issue and reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to cooperate as close partners and as fellow ASEAN members to take decisive actions to solve the problem.

15.            The Leaders welcomed the excellent relations and regular interactions between the civil services of both countries.  Since the last Retreat, Malaysia hosted the 5th Joint Seminar and 36th Public Service Games for Public Sector Leaders in November 2013, while Singapore recently hosted the 2nd Joint Seminar Programme for Deputy Secretaries-General of Malaysia and Deputy Secretaries of Singapore in March 2014.  The Leaders looked forward to the 6th Joint Seminar and 37th Public Service Games for Public Sector Leaders which will be hosted by Singapore this year.

16.            The Prime Ministers also reaffirmed the importance of deepening the cultural bonds between the two peoples.  They expressed support for collaborative initiatives between Singapore’s Malay Heritage Centre and Malaysian agencies and universities such as the National Library of Malaysia, Institut Alam dan Tamadun Melayu, Muzium Negara and the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang.  These may include exhibitions of manuscripts on Malay indigenous sciences and technology; research collaboration on Malay schools, printing and publishing industries, and haj brokerage; and the showcasing of traditional Malaysian dance and theatre art at Singapore’s Malay Culture Festival in September 2014.

17.            Both Leaders reaffirmed the importance of ASEAN staying united in order for it to maintain a central role in the regional architecture, contribute to regional stability and promote closer economic integration.  They were encouraged by ASEAN’s progress in its Community-building goals and noted that Malaysia’s Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2015 would culminate with the historic establishment of an ASEAN Community.  Singapore expressed its full support for the Malaysian Chairmanship.

18.            The Leaders agreed to hold the next Retreat in 2015 in Singapore.

 

7 April 2014