Marina One, Duo touted as symbols of strong Singapore-KL ties

Marina One (left) in Marina Bay and Duo in Bugis.
Marina One (left) in Marina Bay and Duo in Bugis.PHOTOS: M+S, OLE SCHEEREN/IWAN BAAN

Projects the result of 2010 historic pact and reflect the turn in ties after 20-year impasse

In the heart of Singapore's Marina Bay district, a gleaming complex of steel and glass buildings soar 30 storeys high.

Last evening, Marina One was officially opened by both Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

At the same time, Duo, a mixed-use development in the nearby Ophir-Rochor district, was lit up to mark its official opening too.

The developments are the outcome of a historic pact between Singapore and Malaysia in 2010 and reflect the turn in the ties between the two neighbours after a 20-year impasse.

During the deadlock, they wrangled over plots of railway land in Singapore that Malaysia had previously controlled.

Eventually, in return for the three plots and another three plots in Bukit Timah, Singapore offered four parcels of land in Marina South and two parcels of land in Ophir-Rochor for development.

M+S, a joint venture company by Malaysia's Khazanah Nasional and Singapore's Temasek Holdings, developed Marina One and Duo on the six land parcels.

 

Both are integrated developments that include office, residential and retail spaces.

M+S chairman Azman Yahya said: "We hope that these two developments will serve as lasting visible symbols of the harmonious bilateral ties shared between our two countries for future generations."

He noted that the projects are "symbolic of the longstanding strong partnership between Malaysia and Singapore".

The mixed-use projects have a combined gross development value of about $11 billion. Marina One's tenants include Swiss private bank Julius Baer and consulting firm PwC Singapore, while Duo houses Andaz Singapore, a high-end hotel brand in the Hyatt chain.

Datuk Seri Najib, who arrived in Singapore yesterday, attended the joint opening of Marina One and Duo ahead of the eighth Singapore-Malaysia leaders' retreat today .

He also called on President Halimah Yacob at the Istana for the first time since she took office, and was hosted to a private dinner by Mr and Mrs Lee.

The two PMs have held leaders' retreats almost every year since Mr Najib came to Singapore on an introductory visit in 2009.

The latest meeting, originally scheduled for last month, was postponed at Mr Najib's request because of a special meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Turkey to discuss the United States' move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The two PMs and their delegations will hold discussions today.

Both men will witness the signing of an agreement for the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link by Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan and Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan.

"The RTS Link will help to boost connectivity, strengthen our economic and business links and enhance people-to-people relations," Singapore's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It also said the leaders' retreat is the key platform for both PMs to review progress in ties and set the direction going forward.

These meetings have yielded major breakthroughs, like the announcement of the high-speed rail line between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in 2013.

Singapore's delegation includes Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and other Cabinet ministers such as Mr Khaw and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

Mr Najib is accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai and International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2018, with the headline 'Marina One, Duo 'symbols of strong Singapore-KL ties''. Print Edition | Subscribe