COVID-19: Singapore, Malaysia finance ministers discuss economic recovery

COVID-19: Singapore, Malaysia finance ministers discuss economic recovery

Heng Swee Keat Tengku Zafrul
Singapore's Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and his Malaysian counterpart Tengku Zafrul Aziz spoke via video conference on Monday (May 19) to discuss the COVID-19 situation. (Photo: Heng Swee Keat/Facebook) 

SINGAPORE: Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and his Malaysian counterpart Mr Tengku Zafrul Aziz have discussed how the economies of both countries can be steered towards recovery, as COVID-19 restrictions are eased gradually.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (May 20), Mr Heng, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, said the discussion which took place via a video conference the day earlier, was centred on the COVID-19 situation in both countries and around the world. 

"We shared learning points on this battle - from measures to contain the spread of the virus, to support for our companies and households," wrote Mr Heng.

"We also discussed how we can steer our economies towards recovery as we gradually re-open, and explored areas to strengthen bilateral cooperation. We also reaffirmed our longstanding and multi-faceted bilateral relationship and the need to work with each other," he added. 

Both countries are set to open their economies gradually as COVID-19 restrictions are eased. 

Singapore has announced that it will exit the circuit breaker as planned on Jun 1, with measures to be progressively lifted in three phases.

Besides the essential businesses that are already operating, businesses in Singapore that operate in settings with lower transmission risks will be allowed to open. 

READ: COVID-19 - DPM Heng Swee Keat to deliver ministerial statement on further help for businesses, individuals

Meanwhile, Malaysia announced on May 1 that it would allow the majority of the economic sectors to resume operations under the conditional Movement Control Order (MCO). 

The conditional MCO has since been extended until Jun 9

In his Facebook post, Mr Heng also wished Mr Tengku Zafrul an advance "Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri" and wrote that he looked forward to meeting him in person "when the pandemic passes". 

In another Facebook post on Tuesday night, the Malaysian minister thanked Mr Heng for receiving the video call and stressed that "tough times shall be endured together, stronger".

"It was a meaningful sharing session on facing the health and economic challenges during COVID-19 and how our nations can work together to overcome it. My prayers to you and all Singaporeans during this difficult time. Be strong and stay safe always," Mr Tengku Zafrul wrote. 

This is the second time the two ministers have spoken since Mr Tengku Zafrul was appointed finance minister on Mar 10. 

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Source: CNA/am