A good meeting with Najib

By Tuesday June 9th, 2009 No Comments

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew yesterday had good discussions with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on potential areas of bilateral cooperation.

He called on the two leaders in their offices in Putrajaya on the second day of his week-long visit to Malaysia.

Lee met Najib for over an hour.

During their talks, the Malaysian leader was firm about the positive message he had given Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong two weeks ago, during his first visit to Singapore as premier, MM Lee’s press secretary Yeong Yoon Ying said.

“Najib said he wanted to cooperate with Singapore across a broad range of areas. He assured MM that there will be consistency of policy over time as investors are in for the long haul,” she said.

During his visit to Singapore in late May, Najib had spoken of the need to set aside thorny “legacy” issues which he and his Singaporean counterpart had inherited from their predecessors, so as to move ties forward in a fruitful way.

He had also mentioned the possibility of a new bridge linking the eastern part of Johor and Singapore.

Lee later called on Muhyiddin, whom he greeted as an “old friend from Johor”.

The Deputy Prime Minister is a former mentri besar of Johor, the state closest to Singapore.

Their discussion focused on developments in the southern state, especially the Iskandar Malaysia economic corridor and Desaru in the east.

The two leaders also discussed bilateral cooperation in education, Yeong said. Muhyiddin is also the Minister for Education.

In the evening, Lee and members of his delegation drove to Seremban.

They were greeted by Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Mohamad Hasan and went on a bus tour of the town. The drive took them past places the Minister Mentor had visited as a young lawyer, including the building that used to house the courts.

Closer collaboration between Singapore and Malaysia was also the focus of talks earlier in the day between Acting Singapore Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew and his counterpart Datuk Seri Rais Yatim.

Lui is one of three ministers accompanying Lee. The other two are Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Education Minister Ng Eng Hen. Senior Parliamentary Secretary Masagos Zulkifli is also part of the delegation.

Lui and Rais discussed enhancing bilateral cooperation in the sectors they oversee, including expanding the scope of a Memorandum of Understanding on information now under discussion, to include communications.

Other ideas they explored included an exchange of business news, arts performances in Johor Baru and Singapore, and projects that students keen on the arts could work on with their peers across the Causeway.

Asked if there was progress on a proposal by MM Lee to allow the sale of Singapore newspapers in Malaysia and vice versa, Lui said: “Let’s take it one step at a time.” He added he was confident both sides would find many new areas in which to co-operate.

Source : The Straits Times

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