Singapore and Malaysia sign MOUs on disaster management cooperation, ferry service

SINGAPORE - Singapore and Malaysia signed two agreements on Tuesday morning as part of annual bilateral talks.

One will increase cooperation between the two countries' disaster management agencies, while the other will see the number of ferry services from Changi Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Belungkor in south-eastern Johor boosted.

The first Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Malaysian National Security Council, and was witnessed on Tuesday morning by Second Minister for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli and Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman.

Under the agreement, the two agencies will strengthen cooperation in training, techniques and information-sharing pertaining to urban search-and-rescue operations and disaster management.

The second Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority and Malaysia's Johor Port Authority and witnessed by officials from both countries' transport ministries.

It is an update of the agreement first signed in 1993 to establish a regular ferry service between Changi Ferry Terminal and Tanjung Belungkor in south-eastern Johor, which is near the tourist spot of Desaru.

The ferry service will now be able to go up from the current twice daily on weekdays and four times daily on weekends.

The two agreements were signed on the sidelines of Singapore and Malaysia's annual Leaders' Retreat.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will hold a joint press conference on Tuesday afternoon about the outcome of this year's bilateral talks. High on the agenda is the proposed high speed rail link that will cut travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes.

rchang@sph.com.sg