INDONESIAN President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was awarded The Order of Temasek (First Class), Singapore's highest honour for a foreign leader, by Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam last night in a ceremony at the Istana attended by top ministers from both countries.
Dr Yudhoyono, who will step down on Oct 20, was conferred the award "in recognition of his valuable contributions to regional cooperation and stability, as well as the substantial and vital friendship" between the neighbours.
"During his 10 years in office, President Yudhoyono consolidated Indonesian democracy, restored political stability, and fostered steady economic growth," said Ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh, who read the citation.
Earlier in the day, Dr Tan gave Dr Yudhoyono a ceremonial welcome at the Istana before both men held a meeting.
At a state banquet after the award ceremony, Dr Tan paid tribute to his counterpart's "vision and leadership" that had made Indonesia a "shining example of a democratic nation where ethnic and religious diversity, economic development and traditional social norms and values co-exist peacefully".
Dr Yudhoyono said he was honoured to receive the Order, which he dedicated "to the good people of Indonesia and to the lasting friendship between our two countries".
"It will be a permanent reminder to me of the many wonderful moments that we share together as close neighbours," he added.