TWO agreements were signed between Singapore and Malaysia yesterday on the sidelines of the annual retreat between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.
One will increase cooperation between the two countries' disaster management agencies, while the other will boost the number of ferry trips between Changi Ferry Terminal and Tanjung Belungkor in south-eastern Johor.
The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Malaysia's National Security Council will strengthen cooperation in training, techniques and information- sharing related to urban search and rescue operations and disaster management.
Cooperation between the two agencies goes back to 1994, with the SCDF playing a key role in the development of Smart, a special search and rescue force managed by the National Security Council.
Both agencies have also regularly participated in joint exercises. The SCDF has been taking part in its Malaysian counterpart's Joint Search and Rescue Exercise since 2011.
The signing between SCDF Commissioner Eric Yap Wee Teck and Malaysia's National Security Council secretary Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab was witnessed by Second Minister for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, and Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.
The second MOU signed was between Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) and the Johor Port Authority.
The agreement is an update of the MOU first signed in 1993 to establish a regular ferry service between Changi Ferry Terminal and Tanjung Belungkor in south-eastern Johor, near the Desaru beach resort area.
Currently, ferry services run twice on weekdays and four times on weekends and public holidays, the MPA said.
The agreement will enable an increase in services but there were no immediate details given on the number.
The MOU was signed by MPA chief executive Andrew Tan and Johor Port Authority general manager Muhammad Razif Ahmad.