PM Lee and Najib to start leaders' retreat in Singapore on Monday

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) shake hands with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (centre) during the 26th Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur on April 26, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA 
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) shake hands with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (centre) during the 26th Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur on April 26, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA 

SINGAPORE - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will be in Singapore on Monday and Tuesday for a leaders' retreat with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The regular meetings between the premiers have yielded major agreements in recent years, including an ambitious high-speed rail link that will slash travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to just 90 minutes by 2020.

The agenda this year, which also marks the 50th anniversary of Singapore-Malaysia ties, is likely to include further discussions on the project, which was first announced during the 2013 retreat.

Singapore has said it will announce the location of its high- speed rail terminal at this retreat. Three sites have been shortlisted - Jurong East, Tuas West and the city centre.

PM Lee said last week when he officiated at the opening of the new chancery of the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur: "If we can get the high-speed rail going and running, this will be a very important project which will foster closer ties between our people.

"And then we can come up, have lunch and go back down to Singapore again."

Malaysia is siting its terminus within the Bandar Malaysia project, which will transform the old Sungei Besi area - 3km from Kuala Lumpur's financial district - into a dynamic, connected township.

The leaders' retreat, which has been held annually since 2012, is regarded by both countries as a sign of the strong rapport between the two leaders.

"The annual leaders' retreat is a key bilateral platform for the Prime Ministers to drive relations forward," said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

PM Najib and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, will be hosted to a private dinner by PM Lee and Mrs Lee on Monday.

On Tuesday, the two premiers and their respective delegations will meet for bilateral talks, and will discuss ways to further enhance cooperation across a wide range of areas.

PM Najib will also deliver a keynote address on Tuesday night at the Economic Society of Singapore's annual dinner at the Shangri-La Hotel, which PM Lee will be attending.

During the retreat, PM Lee will be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs.

The Singapore delegation includes Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang; Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim; Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan; Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen; Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan; Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K Shanmugam; Minister for Transport and Lui Tuck Yew; Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Lawrence Wong; and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Masagos Zulkifli.