Malaysia Votes 2018

Singapore looks forward to equally constructive relationship with next Malaysian leadership: PM Lee

In a Facebook post on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that both Singapore and Malaysia have enjoyed good relations and close cooperation for many years, with successive Malaysian leaders.
In a Facebook post on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that both Singapore and Malaysia have enjoyed good relations and close cooperation for many years, with successive Malaysian leaders. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Singapore looks forward to developing "an equally constructive relationship" with the next Malaysian leadership, and to work with it to take bilateral ties forward, benefiting both Singaporeans and Malaysians, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The Republic has enjoyed good relations and close cooperation with its neighbour for many years, with successive Malaysian leaders, PM Lee said in a Facebook post yesterday morning.

 

"While Malaysian politics are for Malaysians to decide, Singapore wishes Malaysia all the best in its political development," he said.

Also posting on Facebook, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong saluted Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad "for his indomitable will and energy to right what he thinks is wrong with his country".

He added: "Watching Mahathir fight Malaysian GE14 reminds me of Lee Kuan Yew, who famously said, 'Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.' "

Led by Dr Mahathir, opposition bloc Pakatan Harapan (PH) won a surprise election victory this week over incumbent Barisan Nasional, headed by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, bringing the coalition's 61-year rule to an end.

"Many Singaporeans would have followed the news about the Malaysian election yesterday," noted PM Lee.

"It is clear that the outcome represents a major change in Malaysian politics. We are now awaiting the formation of a new government."

He added: "We are following the situation closely. As Malaysia's closest neighbour, we have a vested interest in Malaysia's stability and prosperity."

As for whether the historic election result will have any impact on bilateral relations, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said it is still "early days" to assess what it means for major joint projects such as the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail.

 
 
 
 

Construction of Singapore's end of the project is expected to start next year, following the inking of a pact in 2016. The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore express service is slated to start by 2026.

Dr Mahathir had said previously that PH will review several "un-necessary" mega projects if it comes to power.

Mr Chan said on the sidelines of an event yesterday: "We have a longstanding and broad-ranging relationship with the Malaysians, and we expect the government of the day to continue to advance this relationship to the mutual benefit of both countries."

Earlier in the morning, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam wrote on Facebook that the result represents "a clear vote for change in Malaysia".

"And it was across the board - Malays, Chinese, Indians and even the Dayaks in Sarawak. Wish Malaysia well, and hope we continue to work together for mutual good of our people."

Also posting on the social media platform were Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin.

Dr Balakrishnan said that Singapore, as Malaysia's closest neighbour, has "a vested interest in Malaysia's stability and prosperity". "We will work with the next Malaysian government to take our bilateral ties forward to benefit both our peoples."

Mr Tan added: "Our Malaysian friends have made their choice and spoken out decisively. Congratulations!"

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2018, with the headline 'PM Lee: Singapore looks forward to equally constructive relationship with next leadership'. Print Edition | Subscribe