President Thurman and Malaysian King highlight shared cultural heritage as neighboring countries, Singapore News

SINGAPORE – Beyond economic cooperation, Singapore and Malaysia have a common cultural heritage that should be celebrated and renewed by future generations, said President Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

At the state dinner he hosted for the King of Malaysia, His Majesty King Ibrahim Iskandar, on Monday, May 6, President Thurman said that with the King’s strong support and leadership, the two countries can jointly move forward in the next phase of cooperation and friendship. He said that the relationship can be raised to the level.

The King is in Singapore with his wife Queen Zaris Sofia for a two-day state visit that ends on May 7th. The state visit is one of the last major visits before Singapore’s leadership changes on May 15, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong takes office. He will hand over his position to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.

In his toast at the Istana, President Thurman noted that the two countries had agreed to strengthen cooperation in areas such as trade and investment in 2023, as well as in emerging areas such as the green economy and payments.

Through the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone, the two countries are also exploring ways to strengthen cross-border connectivity and strengthen cooperation in renewable energy for mutual benefit, he said.

In his speech, the King said the relationship between Malaysia and Singapore is special as the two countries share a common history and culture, as well as close economic ties.

He talked about how he learned a lot about national politics from Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s founding prime minister, whom he knew personally.

“One of the things he shared with me was the need to have consistency in policy. Only through consistency can you win long-term investors, which is crucial for economic growth,” the king said. Told.

He expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Lee, who is a close friend of Johor and Malaysia.

“His dedication and foresight led Singapore to closer cooperation and building a better future,” said the King, who also congratulated the Wong Democratic People’s Party on becoming his next successor.

PM Lee said in a Facebook post that this day in 2022 is the day President Sultan Ibrahim awarded him the title of Dato’ Seri Paduka Mahkota Johor, Johor’s highest state honor. He said the 6th day of the month is special.

The two neighboring countries share a close friendship backed by historical ties and strong relationships between governments and businesses, he added.

Earlier in the day, the King visited Mr. Thurman after a welcoming ceremony at the Istana.

He also met Prime Minister Lee and hosted him for lunch.

On May 7th, DPM Won will visit the King and host him for breakfast. The King is then scheduled to visit the National Diet Building and observe parliamentary proceedings.

In the afternoon, they will visit the Thomson East Coast Line and be briefed on how Woodlands North Station connects with the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) link.

The King will be accompanied on his visit here by Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke, Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Azfar Mohammad Mustafar and other senior officials.

Prior to the state dinner, Mr Thurman and the King viewed a photo exhibition on the history of the causeway, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in June.

The two leaders also announced the design of a stamp to be jointly issued by Singapore Post and Malaysia Post to commemorate the anniversary.

“These photos are a timely reminder that the world’s busiest land crossing is a symbol not just of the physical connection between our two countries, but of the enduring bond that exists between us. ,” Thurman said.

Mr Thurman stressed the importance of the two countries maintaining people-to-people ties in order for young Singaporeans and Malaysians to understand each other better and grow closer.

Once completed in 2026, the RTS link should further facilitate these relationships, he added.

He noted that the bond between Singapore and Malaysia is multifaceted, such as artists from both countries having loyal fans in the other country. When Singaporeans and Malaysians are not competing on the sporting field, they often cheer each other on at international tournaments, he added.

Mutual exploration of the most delicious laksa, char kway teow and roti prata is also an “invincible manifestation” of a common cultural bond, Thurman said.

“Indeed, the claims of our peoples on the same cuisine as originating on the other side of the causeway is only a pleasant reminder of our intertwined traditions,” he said.

As Malaysia prepares to assume the ASEAN chairmanship in 2025, Mr Thurman is confident that the two countries will continue to work well together to maintain the regional group’s unity, centrality and relevance. He said there was.

Mr Thurman said it was a great honor for King Ibrahim to make his first state visit to Singapore since acceding to the throne on January 31, and the Republic looks forward to working closely with him to deepen bilateral ties. .

“Like all our neighbors, we have issues to resolve, but we must not allow them to change the overall vitality of our relationship,” he said. Ta.

“We should continue to find mutually beneficial and sustainable ways to advance these issues, focusing on a number of positive new areas of cooperation.”

this article First published in The Straits Times. Permission is required for reproduction.

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