Indonesia, Singapore to boost security, economic, and people-to-people ties

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo inspects a guard of honour with Singapore's President Tony Tan during a welcoming ceremony at the Istana on July 28, 2015. Mr Joko is on a three-day state visit to Singapore.
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo inspects a guard of honour with Singapore's President Tony Tan during a welcoming ceremony at the Istana on July 28, 2015. Mr Joko is on a three-day state visit to Singapore. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Indonesia president Joko Widodo giving a keynote speech at the Singapore-Indonesia Business Dialogue on July 28, 2015.
Indonesia president Joko Widodo giving a keynote speech at the Singapore-Indonesia Business Dialogue on July 28, 2015.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Indonesia president Joko Widodo giving a keynote speech at the Singapore-Indonesia Business Dialogue on July 28, 2015.
Indonesia president Joko Widodo giving a keynote speech at the Singapore-Indonesia Business Dialogue on July 28, 2015.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Indonesia president Joko Widodo giving a keynote speech at the Singapore-Indonesia Business Dialogue on July 28, 2015.
Indonesia president Joko Widodo giving a keynote speech at the Singapore-Indonesia Business Dialogue on July 28, 2015.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - Singapore and Indonesia on Tuesday vowed to step up cooperation between both countries in a range of areas.

These include building upon already-strong business and economic ties, and will extend to partnerships in e-government, youth and sports development, technical and vocational education as well as tourism.

Both governments and their security agencies will also work together to better tackle the threat of extremist terrorism, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters at a joint press briefing after they met at the Istana.

They noted that both countries have nationals involved with militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and need to work together to step up cooperation and exchange of information to tackle the threat.

Mr Joko is on his introductory State Visit to Singapore, and earlier this morning, he was given a ceremonial welcome by President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

He also called on Dr Tan, followed by PM Lee, and was hosted to lunch by PM Lee.

Both countries inked three agreements at the Istana this afternoon, witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is on his introductory State Visit here.

The first was a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation in electronic Government, signed by Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim and Indonesia's Minister of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform, Mr Yuddy Chrisnandi.

 

This agreement will see both countries collaborate more closely to share experiences and knowledge in e-Government and explore possible bilateral projects of mutual interest, as both sides see e-Government as critical in the better delivery of public services to citizens, and an enabler for growth.

The second MOU is on cooperation in youth and sports development, and was signed by Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong and Indonesia's Minister for Youth and Sports Imam Nahrawi.

This will pave the way for exchange visits by youth, athletes and relevant government officials, as well as the sharing of ideas and information on youth and sports issues. Joint training sessions could be organised between sports teams from the two countries.

The third MOU is on strategic economic cooperation between the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), and was signed by SBF chairman Teo Siong Seng and Kadin chairman Suryo Bambang Sulisto.

The agreement aims to foster closer ties between small and medium enterprises from both countries, and allow for the sharing of sustainable agricultural practices and exchange of information and research on the latest economic developments, among others.

 

Both leaders agreed their countries could also work together to promote the other as complementary tourist destinations, to capture the growing tourism opportunities provided by a growing middle class in Asia.

Singapore and Indonesia are close partners in many areas, including economy, defence and people to people ties, Mr Lee said after the signing.

"Over the years, have seen our ties grow, broaden and strengthen. So today, I am very happy to have witnessed the signing of the MOUs in e-government and youth and sports, because these will add more dimensions to our ties and draw us closer together," he said.

Mr Lee said he and Mr Joko had a good meeting, and discussed how they could strengthen economic cooperation, building on the already-strong ties.

Singapore has been one of Indonesia's top trading partners and investors, and Indonesia has been an attractive destination for Singapore companies.

Bilateral trade with Indonesia has been on an upward trend over the past 10 years, with Indonesia ranking as Singapore's fourth largest trading partner in 2014, with trade reaching S$72.4 billion. Since 2001, Singapore has consistently been among the top five investors in Indonesia, with US$5.8 billion in investments in 2014.

Indonesia has also been Singapore's top source of tourist arrivals since 1997, getting three million visitor arrivals from Indonesia last year. Singapore is also one of the top source of visitor arrivals into Indonesia.

On Tuesday, the two leaders agreed to work together to make it even more attractive so Singapore companies can take advantage of opportunities in Indonesia, in areas like the Batam, Bintan and Karimun special economic zone.

Mr Lee and Mr Joko also spoke about the planned Kendal Industrial Park in Semarang, which is Singapore's first major industrial park investment in Indonesia outside the Riau archipelago. It is a joint venture between SembCorp and Indonesian property developer Jababeka, and there is a good chance both leaders will visit the park in future, which is a sign of their good relationship, said Mr Lee.

Both men also spoke about cooperation in security, and the possibility of greater cooperation between their armed forces, which already enjoy strong ties.

Mr Joko was in Singapore for his son's graduation in November, and for the funeral of the country's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew this March, but this is his first official visit here since taking office last October.

This afternoon, Mr Joko will speak at the Singapore-Indonesia Business Dialogue forum organised by SBF and Kadin before ending his first day here with a state banquet hosted by President Tan at the Istana.

Mr Joko is accompanied by First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo and a high-level ministerial delegation that includes Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Sofyan A Djalil and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.