Singapore committed to bilateral projects, 'constructive' ties with Malaysia: Vivian

·Assistant News Editor
·2 min read
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, addresses Parliament on Tuesday, 2 February 2021. (PHOTO: Ministry of Communications and Information YouTube channel
Foreign inister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan addresses Parliament (PHOTO: Ministry of Communications and Information YouTube channel )

SINGAPORE — Singapore remains committed to bilateral projects such as the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS), as well as building a "constructive and positive" relationship with Malaysia, said Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament on Monday (13 September). 

The city-state's consistent position is to work with the government of the day, Dr Balakrishnan told the House. The day after Ismail Sabri Yaakob was sworn in as Malaysian Prime Minister on 21 August, PM Lee Hsien Loong spoke with him "the very next morning", and many ministers have also established or renewed contact with their counterparts across the Causeway.

Dr Balakrishnan noted that Singapore cooperated closely with the previous Malaysian government led by Muhyiddin Yassin to tackle the pandemic, including contributing medical supplies and test kits.

The Foreign Minister was responding to parliamentary queries about the state of bilateral ties and projects, in light of the ongoing political turmoil in Malaysia. Muhyiddin was succeeded by PM Ismail after just 17 months in power.

Muhyiddin himself came to power after political manoeuvrings that led to the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan ruling coalition, which held power for only 22 months. In addition, the country is still grappling with the pandemic, with more than 19,000 new COVID cases on Sunday. 

Dr Balakrishan noted that construction of the RTS, set to open at the end of 2026, has commenced on both sides, with "good progress" being made. Discussions with the Malaysian government on the safe and gradual resumption of cross border movement of people are also ongoing.

Both sides are also working towards recognising each other's vaccine certificates.

"This will certainly help us map our path forward for a safe reopening of our borders, when the situation permits," said the minister.  

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