PM Lee hopes Singapore, Malaysia can build on progress made in meeting with PM Mahathir

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks to Singapore reporters after visiting Malaysia's new prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya on May 19, 2018.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks to Singapore reporters after visiting Malaysia's new prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya on May 19, 2018.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mrs Lee pose for a photo with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya, on May 19, 2018.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mrs Lee pose for a photo with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya, on May 19, 2018.PHOTO: MCI
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and meets Pakatan Harapan presidential council member Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the Marriott Hotel in Putrajaya on May 19, 2018. They were accompanied by their wives, Mrs Lee and Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and meets Pakatan Harapan presidential council member Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the Marriott Hotel in Putrajaya on May 19, 2018. They were accompanied by their wives, Mrs Lee and Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

PUTRAJAYA - Singapore and Malaysia have made a lot of progress in cooperation projects, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hopes both neighbours can continue to work together on many things and build on what they have achieved.

He was speaking to Singapore reporters after visiting Malaysia's new prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya on Saturday (May 19), and described their meeting as warm and fruitful.

PM Lee has also invited Tun Dr Mahathir to visit Singapore, and hopes the prime ministers of both sides can continue to hold regular retreats - the first of which was done by Dr Mahathir and former PM Goh Chok Tong in Langkawi in 1994.

"I hope that after he has settled some of his domestic priorities, (of) which he has many, he will be able to follow it up," PM Lee said.

He added of their 30-minute meeting: "We had an exchange of views - what was on his mind, what was on mine, and I think it was a warm, fruitful meeting from that point of view."

The meeting between both leaders is the first since Dr Mahathir was sworn in as Malaysia's seventh prime minister on May 10, after his Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition won the May 9 general election.

PM Lee was greeted at the Perdana Leadership Foundation by Dr Mahathir, who was Malaysia's prime minister from 1981 to 2003 and is honorary president of the foundation which was started in 2003 for the study of Malaysian leadership and nation-building.

They were accompanied by their wives, Mrs Lee and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, as well as Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Malaysia's Foreign Ministry secretary-general Ramlan Ibrahim.

At the start of their meeting, Dr Mahathir thanked PM Lee for his good wishes and for visiting.

PM Lee replied: "You are our nearest and closest neighbour, so when this happened I thought I would come up soon, touch base, renew our links."

Speaking to reporters later, PM Lee said: "I said that we have worked with them over many years. We have cooperation projects. We have issues from time to time which we have to deal with, but we have made a lot of progress with the cooperation and we hope to continue to make further progress and build on what we have achieved in the past."

 
 

"I think he shares that hope," he added.

Both leaders did not discuss any substantive bilateral issues, PM Lee added.

Asked if the Kuala Lumpur and Singapore high-speed rail, which Dr Mahathir had said he would review, was raised, PM Lee said they did not discuss the issue.

PM Lee is the second foreign leader to visit Dr Mahathir after he took up the post, after Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei.

PM Lee also received a call at the Marriott Hotel in Putrajaya from PH presidential council member Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim together with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Women's Affairs and Welfare Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, to reestablish personal links.


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong receiving a call at the Marriott Hotel in Putrajaya from Pakatan Harapan presidential council member Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on May 19, 2018. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

PM Lee said he knew Mr Anwar when both men were deputy prime ministers - Mr Anwar from 1993 to 1998, and PM Lee from 1990 to 2004 - and they used to exchange visits.

"We had a general conversation on how he saw developments in Malaysia, his views of what has been happening and what his plans were," he said.

He added that Mr Anwar had plans to travel abroad in the coming months, and offered to host him at a Singapore institute if he so wished.

Said PM Lee: "If he wants time to reflect, to write, perhaps to detach himself a little bit for a while, we welcome him to Singapore. Come to one of our institutes and write a book. So he said he would consider that."