Speaking Notes – Joint Press Conference: YAB Prime Minister Of Malaysia Official Visit To The Republic Of Singapore

YAB PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA
OFFICIAL VISIT

TO THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE
29 NOVEMBER 2021

JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE

1. I sincerely thank you Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for graciously hosting me and my delegation during my first Official Visit to Singapore.

2. I’m indeed very happy to visit Singapore and renew face- to-face contact with my dear friend PM Lee and other colleagues in Singapore.

3. I had the honour to call on Madam Halimah Yacob, President of Singapore. And this was followed by my meeting with PM Lee.

4. As close, immediate neighbours, deep relation between Malaysia and Singapore in immense importance to both sides. More active multilevel engagements and much stronger cooperation is certainly the way forward for our two countries. This is crucial also for our contact of cooperation in undertaking effective and meaningful recovery efforts, so that our countries will come stronger following the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Today we reach another significant milestone in our cooperation. This morning I crossed Tambak Johor (Causeway), and was received by PM Lee at Woodlands Checkpoint. This in itself is very significant. It symbolizes the reopening of our borders through the launching of land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL). Simultaneously, we also launch VTL-Air. This is part of gradual reopening of our borders to facilitate travels between the two countries.

6. I have also discussed with PM Lee additional measures that we will undertake in respect of cross border travels between Malaysia and Singapore. Both of us have agreed to:

i. Include all categories of travellers for the VTL- Land, subject to the health requirements determined by both countries; and

ii. To expand VTL-land to include additional additional bus service routes through the Second Link, trains operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), and gradually to include personal vehicles such as motorbikes and cars.

7. We acknowledge that the re-opening of borders is important to reactivate cross-border social and economic activities that will benefit the people of both countries.

8. We hope that by doing this, it would provide the opportunity for more people on both sides of the Causeway who have been away from their families due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to be re-united with their loved ones – which we know the people of both Malaysia and Singapore have long awaited for.

9. PM Lee and I also discussed the cross border movement by air between Singapore and destinations like Penang, Langkawi, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia. Both of us decided that our officials should start to draw up measures for this purpose.

10. During our discussion, PM Lee and I also agreed on the need to resume the work of our existing bilateral mechanisms. This include the 10th Annual Leaders’ Retreat, which we have not been able to convene during the past two years due to the pandemic. InsyaAllah, we will have our Leaders’ Retreat in the first quarter of next year and I look forward to coming back to Singapore.

11. Both of us also agreed that the other mechanisms at the Ministerial and at the official levels should resume their work as soon as possible. This is important to ensure that our multifaceted cooperation and outstanding issues are kept on the right track with a positive momentum forward. Subsequently, PM Lee and I will discuss the progress in these bilateral mechanisms at our Leaders’ Retreat.

12. On regional development, we touched on the situation in Myanmar. We agreed that it is crucial for ASEAN to continue playing a positive and constructive role in facilitating a durable and peaceful solution in the interest of Myanmar and in the larger interest of the ASEAN Community. We share the same view that it is crucial for Myanmar to cooperate in the implementation of the Five-Point Concensus, and the necessity to preserve the credibility and integrity of ASEAN. We look forward to the return to democracy in Myanmar and the participation of Myanmar at the highest level at future Summits.

Thank you.

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