Annual Singapore-Malaysia leaders' retreat: Snapshot of coverage by Malaysian media

Page 1 of The Star showed a photo of a bullet train with the punny headline "More rail-istic deadline", while the New Straits Times carried a photo of a smiling Mr Lee and Mr Najib on its front page. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/THE NEW STRAITS TIMES
Page 1 of The Star showed a photo of a bullet train with the punny headline "More rail-istic deadline", while the New Straits Times carried a photo of a smiling Mr Lee and Mr Najib on its front page. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/THE NEW STRAITS TIMES

The annual leaders' retreat between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak was held on May 4-5 in Singapore.

The significant breakthrough this year, which marks the 50th anniversary of bilateral ties between the two countries, was the announcement of the Jurong East terminus in Singapore for the high-speed rail (HSR) link to Kuala Lumpur. Mr Lee and Mr Najib also reaffirmed their commitment to the success of the project, first mooted in 2013.

Here is a summary of what the Malaysian media have reported on the two-day retreat.

The Star

On the paper's cover page on May 6 was a photo of a bullet train with the punny headline "More rail-istic deadline". It focused on the revelation that there will now be a longer wait for the HSR, as opposed to the initial target of 2020.

Mr Najib was quoted as saying that the project was complex and needed to be studied further, with bilateral issues pertaining to the HSR - such as structure, management and the business model - to be settled by the end of the year. The new deadline for completion will also be announced then.

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New Straits Times

NST carried a photo of a smiling Mr Lee and Mr Najib on its front page and led with how the Malaysian leader said that bilateral ties with Singapore are at their "best in history".

It emphasised on the speech made by Mr Najib, titled "Malaysia-Singapore: The Ties That Bind", during Tuesday's night annual dinner of the Economic Society of Singapore, where he praised the warm relationship he shared with Mr Lee.

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Bernama

The news agency also highlighted Mr Najib's speech and picked up on a Malay proverb ("Sedangkan Lidah Lagi Tergigit", which roughly translates to "like tongue and teeth") he used to describe the challenges faced by both countries to manage their differences.

"Throughout the shared history of Malaysia and Singapore relations over the last five decades, it is clear that our two nations are intertwined and, in particular, enjoy very strong people-to-people connectivity," he said, noting that that closeness of bilateral ties was underlined soon after he became the country's prime minister.

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Malay Mail

The headline of one of the independent online newspaper's stories on the retreat read "PM: Deep bilateral ties with Singapore will bring more benefits".

It noted how Mr Najib said that Singapore remains one of the top investors in the country with the total value of approved projects last year standing at RM8.3 billion (S$3.1 billion).

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