PUTRAJAYA - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Malaysia's administrative capital Putrajaya on Saturday (May 19).
This is the first meeting between both leaders since Tun 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 arrived at Putrajaya at 11am and was greeted 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.
Mr Lee signed a guestbook before the meeting, which was also attended by Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
Also present were both prime ministers' wives, Mrs Lee and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali, and Singapore High Commissioner to Malaysia Vanu Menon.
Dr Mahathir thanked PM Lee for his good wishes and for visiting.
PM Lee said at the start of the meeting: "You are our nearest and closest neighbour, so when this happened I thought I would come up soon, touch base, renew our links."
He had told Singapore's Parliament on Wednesday about his planned meeting with Dr Mahathir, adding: "I will tell him that I look forward to working with him again for mutual benefit."
In a congratulatory letter to Dr Mahathir on May 11, PM Lee had also written: "We have had extensive cooperation with successive Malaysian Governments, and we had strong, mutually-beneficial ties and interactions during your previous term as Prime Minister. I am confident that under your leadership, our two countries can find ways to further strengthen and deepen the bilateral relationship."
PM Lee is the second foreign leader to visit Dr Mahathir after he took up the post, after Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei.
Speaking to Singapore reporters after the meeting, PM Lee said Singapore and Malaysia have made a lot of progress in cooperation projects, and that he hopes both neighbours can continue to work together on many things and build on what they have achieved.
He 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.
PM Lee and Mrs Lee also met 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.