Vivian Balakrishnan meets King, two senior ministers on second day of Malaysia visit

Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan having an audience with the Malaysian King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SINGAPORE

KUALA LUMPUR - Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Wednesday (March 24) had an audience with the Malaysian King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, on the second day of his Malaysia visit.

Dr Balakrishnan also met Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali, and was hosted to dinner by Senior Minister and Minister of Defence Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Dr Balakrishnan had met his Malaysian counterpart Hishammuddin Hussein and Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin, on the first of his two-day visit on Tuesday.

He also called on Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Singapore and Malaysia said on Tuesday that they had agreed to work towards recognising each other's vaccine certificates to facilitate cross-border travel in the future.

The two countries also agreed to allow cross-border travel on compassionate grounds in the coming months.

In a Facebook posting on Tuesday evening, Tan Sri Muhyiddin said that Dr Balakrishnan extended a letter from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong inviting him to attend the 10th Malaysia-Singapore Annual Leaders' Retreat.

"I took note of Singapore's proposal to be the host for the retreat this year after it was postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic," Mr Muhyiddin said.

At the meeting, the Malaysian premier said they also touched on the current situation in Myanmar and Asean's direction in handling the crisis.

"At the end of the meeting, I expressed Malaysia's commitment to not only maintain the existing good relations with Singapore but also to strengthen ties," Mr Muhyiddin added.

Dr Balakrishnan is visiting Jakarta next, on Thursday and Friday, reaffirming the strong relations between Singapore and Indonesia, a statement from Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.

His visit also has the aim of strengthening the close bilateral partnership to recover from the pandemic together.

He is scheduled to meet with his Indonesian counterpart Ms Retno Marsudi.

Dr Balakrishnan is also holding separate engagements with Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investments Luhut Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Erick Thohir, and Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno.

The Singapore minister will also meet Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and other prominent Indonesian personalities, MFA said.

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