External engagements crucial for Singapore’s peace and prosperity: PM Wong 

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

As a small and open economy, Singapore must work closely with like-minded partners around the world to build a stable external environment, which is crucial for Singapore’s peace and prosperity, Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said. 

“Singapore is a small and open economy, dependent on being plugged into the world to make a living… A stable external environment will allow Singapore to prosper.” 

This is why he will continue to pay special attention to growing Singapore’s global network of friends and lead its international engagements, PM Wong said in a Facebook post on June 12 at the conclusion of his first overseas trip since taking office.    

The introductory visits to Brunei and Malaysia were made over two days as part of PM Wong’s series of introductory visits to ASEAN capitals. PM Wong said the trips were productive in reaffirming friendships and renewing longstanding ties with Bruneian and Malaysian friends. 

Speaking to Singapore media at the end of a two-day trip, he said that as Singapore is a small country and does not “operate in a vacuum”, building good relations with neighbours is also important, in addition to addressing issues Singaporeans care about, such as cost of living, jobs, and housing.  
“Being able to navigate our way in a very complex external environment is also very critical for Singapore, and I will certainly do my best as prime minister, even while attending to Singaporeans’ domestic concerns.” 

Brunei is Singapore’s ‘special and most trusted partner’: PM Wong 

PM Wong met Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah while in Bandar Seri Begawan on June 11, and Prime Minister of Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim in Kuala Lumpur on June 12. 

During the trip to Brunei with Ministers Vivian Balakrishnan, Desmond Lee, Grace Fu and Minister of State Rahayu Mahzam, PM Wong reaffirmed Singapore’s special partnership with Brunei. He committed to strengthening cooperation in areas like food security, energy and civil service exchanges. 

Brunei is a “special and very trusted partner for Singapore”, and there is really no other country with that kind of status where the Republic is concerned, said PM Wong.  This is why Brunei was his first stop in his introductory visits to Southeast Asian capitals.  

Singapore and Malaysia will resolve water, other issues amicably

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings

Singapore and Malaysia are committed to resolving outstanding bilateral issues such as airspace, water and maritime borders, as well as taking the bilateral relationship to even greater heights through new cooperation. 

Both Mr Wong and Mr Anwar affirmed this a joint press conference on June 12 at Seri Perdana, the Malaysian PM’s official residence in Putrajaya. 

“While the issues are complex and may take some time to resolve, we are fully committed to managing them in a way that will enable our overall bilateral relationship to continue to flourish,” said Mr Wong. 

“I want to showcase to the region, to the world how good neighbours should behave and interact. So, I look forward to that sort of final amicable resolutions,” said Mr Anwar.  

In a Facebook post, Mr Wong said it was good to have a candid exchange of views with Mr Anwar to establish mutual trust and understanding that would help take Singapore and Malaysia’s bilateral ties forward. 
He added they agreed that as PMs, setting the right tone for cooperation and guiding officials to discuss issues constructively would lead to win-win outcomes. “The more closely we cooperate, the more we expand our economic space and secure benefits for our peoples.”
Mr Wong noted that Malaysia and Singapore have deep cultural, familial and historical ties. The two economies have complementary strengths and stand to gain by cooperating in projects like the Johor-Singapore SEZ. 

“I am confident our partnership can create many new opportunities to uplift our peoples, and keep our region competitive, vibrant and forward-looking.”