Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says the friendship between Singapore and Malaysia needs to be continually nurtured and tended to. Speaking at the opening of the Agrobazaar Malaysia outlet on Wednesday (Aug 27), Mr Lee said this will ensure that success will blossom along the way.
The outlet, located in Sultan Gate off Beach Road, is an agricultural-based business that promotes Malaysian fruit and products to the overseas market. Mr Lee said the Agrobazaar is one example of what cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia can deliver, as both countries move their ties forward. He also said the Agrobazaar is “something more than food” and reflects the close economic ties between the two countries, as well as their shared culture and long friendship.
Mr Lee also said he looks forward to deeper interactions between the people of Singapore and Malaysia in the coming years. The building of the Rapid Transit System (RTS) link between Johor Bahru and Singapore, as well as the high-speed rail between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, are expected to improve the flow of goods and people across borders.
However, Mr Lee said that with such close interactions between the two countries, issues can be expected to arise from time to time.
“But I believe if we keep the lines of communication open, not just between the leaders, but also between ministers and senior officials and their counterparts, then we can manage anything which comes along, and this is the way to maintain and enhance mutual understanding, trust and respect, and continue to make progress on existing as well as new areas of cooperation,” Mr Lee said.
Prime Minister Najib Razak also said the the Agrobazaar is a testament to the strong and enduring relationship between Singapore and Malaysia. He explained that the Agrobazaar is a launch pad for Malaysian producers to access new international markets. “Yes, we have historic cities; yes, we have idyllic beaches and of course, we have the twin towers, but our rambutan and mangosteen, and above all – durian, really pull in the crowds,” he said.
Mr Najib also presented Prime Minister Lee with a basket of musang king durians and an oil painting of them enjoying the fruit during Mr Lee’s recent visit to Malaysia.
A fifth of Malaysia’s agrofood products, worth more than US$1 billion, is exported to Singapore annually. Mr Najib is confident that the numbers will grow, based on the good cooperation at the Agrobazaar.
During Mr Najib’s visit in Singapore, he also took the opportunity to see the Singapore Sports Hub – one of the country’s newest developments. Mr Najib posted a photo on Facebook, saying “Malaysia and Singapore have always enjoyed a healthy competitive spirit when it comes to football and we just couldn’t resist kicking a ball around”.