PM Lee Hsien Loong, Mahathir to meet in Putrajaya on Tuesday for Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke walking through the static guard of honour at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on April 8, 2019.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke walking through the static guard of honour at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on April 8, 2019.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

PUTRAJAYA - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will meet his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad in Malaysia on Tuesday (April 9) for the ninth Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat.

The annual meeting, an important platform to discuss bilateral issues and strengthen cooperation, was to have been held in November last year but was postponed.

This is the first Leaders' Retreat with the Pakatan Harapan government, which came to power last May.

In a statement on Monday (April 8), Singapore's Prime Minister's Office said PM Lee will have a bilateral meeting with Tun Dr Mahathir on Tuesday morning.

This will be followed by a delegation meeting involving the two leaders and their accompanying ministers and senior officials.

Dr Mahathir and his wife Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali will then host lunch for PM Lee, Mrs Lee and the Singapore delegation.

PM Lee will be accompanied by Mrs Lee and nine Cabinet ministers: Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean; Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan; Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan; Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran; Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat; Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu; Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing; Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong; and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli.


Dr Mahathir had said last week that all "unresolved" issues between Malaysia and Singapore will continue to be discussed at the retreat.

Both countries have reached an agreement on recent air issues, with Singapore withdrawing the Instrument Landing System procedures for Seletar Airport, and Malaysia indefinitely suspending its permanent restricted area over Pasir Gudang.

The agreement, implemented by the civil aviation authorities last Friday, paves the way for Malaysian carrier Firefly to begin flying to Seletar later this month, more than four months after a suspension.

On Monday afternoon, both countries' transport ministers announced that they will work on GPS-based instrument approach procedures for Seletar Airport.

A high-level committee has also been set up to review the management of airspace over southern Johor.

Other bilateral issues include disputes over maritime boundaries and the price of water sold to Singapore.

Singapore and Malaysia on Monday announced the suspension of overlapping port claims in the Republic's territorial waters off Tuas. The suspension was one of five recommendations both sides agreed to.

Dr Balakrishnan had said that if the recommendations are implemented by April 14 - a month after the agreement - then negotiations for maritime boundary delimitation will start within a month.

On Monday night, DPM Teo and Dr Balakrishnan caught up with Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Defence Minister Mat Sabu over dinner in Kuala Lumpur.

"We had a good and frank discussion on bilateral relations and looked forward to a productive Leaders Retreat between PM Lee and PM Mahathir," Mr Teo wrote in a Facebook post.

"There is much more we can achieve by looking forward and working together to create a brighter future for our two countries and our region."