- POSTED: 20 Sep 2013 21:49
- UPDATED: 21 Sep 2013 14:06
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President Tony Tan Keng Yam said there is a new momentum in Singapore-Malaysia relations but this positivity must never be taken for granted.
MALACCA: President Tony Tan Keng Yam said there is a new momentum in Singapore-Malaysia relations.
Dr Tan spoke to reporters in Malacca on the final day of his three-day state visit to Malaysia.
After being received by the Governor of Malacca Mohd Khalil Yaakob, as well as Chief Minister Idris Haron, the three leaders had a joint meeting.
Dr Tan said a strong working relationship between the two countries' prime ministers and joint development projects have given both sides a vested interest to "make things happen".
But the president also said this positivity must never be taken for granted and the good relations, no matter how strong, need to be nurtured.
Dr Tan said that this is the objective of his first state visit to Malaysia.
He said: "I hope it (visit to Malaysia) will help to foster official and personal ties from the top, and signal a certain degree of warmth in our relations to officials, people and at all levels."
Over the three-day visit, Dr Tan met Malaysia's top leaders, including Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Dr Tan said he has received a warm welcome from Malaysia's leaders.
The delegation also had a taste of Malacca's strong Peranakan culture -- another tie that binds Singapore and Malaysia.
Political and economic relations between the two countries have taken on a newfound momentum in recent years.
Since the two countries' prime ministers started a yearly leaders' retreat some six years ago, exchanges across the Causeway have not seen the ups and downs of the past.
More importantly, joint development projects have taken off, such as the much anticipated high speed rail link that will one day connect Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Dr Tan said the path ahead may not always be smooth as implementing the joint projects will throw up challenges, and both sides will naturally focus on their own interests.
He explained: "As close neighbours, when you work together as partners, one can never assume there will not be any differences. There will be differences, we must expect that. The important thing is to not let these differences derail the project. Find a way to resolve them through negotiations and discussions. I'm confident this will happen."
After all, the president added, the Singapore-Malaysia relationship is a longstanding one that has weathered time and history.
Returning the hospitality, Malaysian King Tuanku Abdul Halim has accepted Dr Tan's invitation to visit Singapore.