Malaysian PM Ismail Sabri looks forward to visiting S'pore, strengthening bilateral ties

Mr Ismail Sabri was sworn in as Prime Minister by Malaysia's King on Aug 21, 2021. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - Newly appointed Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he is looking forward to visiting Singapore and meeting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In thanking Mr Lee for reaching out and congratulating him on his appointment as Malaysia's ninth prime minister, Datuk Seri Ismail said he took the opportunity to extend his well wishes to Singapore on its 56th Independence Day which was celebrated on Aug 9.

"I expressed Malaysia's high commitment to further strengthen our existing bilateral relations with Singapore, on top of exploring new potential in various fields for our mutual interests," he said in a Facebook post on Sunday (Aug 22).

"I look forward to visit Singapore and meeting His Excellency to discuss how both Malaysia and Singapore can benefit from the friendship that both our countries have for so many years."

Mr Ismail, who is Umno vice-president, was sworn in as Prime Minister by Malaysia's King on Saturday, five days after the latter's predecessor Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin resigned as prime minister following a loss of parliamentary majority.

Mr Ismail's appointment also marked his party's return to power just three years after it lost federal power for the first time since the country's independence.

Earlier on Sunday, PM Lee made a telephone call to Mr Ismail and wrote him a congratulatory letter.

During the phone call, both leaders reaffirmed Singapore and Malaysia's longstanding, deep and broad-ranging ties.

They are also looking forward to working closely together to confront shared challenges that include the Covid-19 pandemic, said Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement.

In his letter, PM Lee said he had every confidence that the relationship between the two countries would continue to flourish as they enjoy deep, warm and multi-faceted relations.

PM Lee said he looks forward to working with Mr Ismail to expand both countries' cooperation for mutual benefit.

He also invited Mr Ismail to make an official visit to Singapore to discuss "how we can partner each other to take our friendship further".

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