SINGAPORE - Uncertainties in Malaysia will have an economic impact on Singapore, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Monday (March 4) as he stressed the need for the country to continue to diversify and "take this issue very seriously that our economy is never held ransom or dependent on a single source".
At the same time, events across the border will be felt by regional countries too because Malaysia is part of the wider Asean economy.
For this reason, his ministry had, in the course of the last few months, "encouraged our companies to seriously consider the impact of the Malaysians' political and economic trajectory", he said in Parliament during the debate on his ministry's budget.
Mr Chan was replying to Workers' Party MP Low Thia Khiang (Aljunied GRC), who had asked whether there will be an impact on Singapore's economy if the ongoing bilateral dispute over airspace and port issues "remained unsolved".
Mr Chan stressed the need to always bear in mind that Malaysia is part of Asean.
"Our position is that we continue to look for win-win situations and win-win projects together with Malaysia, because we always believe that a prosperous Malaysia that is doing well economically is good for Malaysia, (and) is good for the region."
But any disruption to the Malaysian economy will have a significant impact on the Singapore, "which is why over the last few months, MTI has always encouraged our companies to seriously consider the impact of the Malaysian's political and economic trajectory'', he said.
Urging businesses to diversify their sources, their supply chains and their markets is also being done, as it is in keeping with Singapore's wider strategy to ensure "we will never be held ransom by dependence on one particular market... regardless of whether it is Malaysia or any (other) market''.
He stressed that Singapore businesses must regard seriously the risks of solely depending on Malaysia as a supplier.
Singapore firms have in recent months spoke about a possible disruption of supplies from Malaysia.
In December, Malaysian Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said his country was looking into limiting or stopping the export of eggs, to ensure a sufficient supply for its domestic market.
In response, Singapore's food agency Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said it has plans in place to acquire eggs from other sources, if necessary.
Addressing the question raised by Mr Low, Mr Chan said: "You're right, Malaysia is our next-door neighbour, our closest neighbour.
"And because they are the closest neighbour, all the more we must make sure that we continue to diversify and take this issue very seriously that our economy is never held ransom or dependent on a single source."