Important to work on relationships with closest neighbours

Singapore has to work on its relationships with all its Asean partners, especially its closest neighbours Indonesia and Malaysia, given the uncertainties in the rest of the world, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

Speaking at the National Day Rally, Mr Lee said Indonesia will hold elections next year and has just decided on presidential candidates.

He said: "They will be preoccupied with election campaigning for the next few months. I have worked well with President Jokowi. We have wide-ranging and mutually beneficial cooperation with Indonesia and I hope this will continue."

Indonesia will hold parliamentary and presidential elections in April next year. Earlier this month, President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, named Indonesia Ulama Council chairman and influential Muslim figure Ma'ruf Amin as his running mate.

Mr Joko will face off against Gerindra Party chief Prabowo Subianto, whom he defeated in the last elections, held in 2014.

Mr Lee said Mr Joko will be hosting their annual Leaders' Retreat in October in Bali, where they will discuss ways to step up cooperation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2018, with the headline 'Important to work on relationships with closest neighbours'. Print Edition | Subscribe