DPM Teo, Jordan's King Abdullah reaffirm warm ties

From left: Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry) Tan Wu Meng, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, and Jordan's King Abdullah II during their meeting yesterd
From left: Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry) Tan Wu Meng, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, and Jordan's King Abdullah II during their meeting yesterday.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday had an audience with Jordan's King Abdullah II during a visit in which both sides reaffirmed their warm and longstanding bilateral ties.

The meeting was part of DPM Teo's two-day visit to Jordan, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement yesterday.

"They discussed ways to step up cooperation across various sectors and exchange best practices on strengthening social cohesion. Both leaders also had a useful exchange of views on regional developments in the Middle East and Asia," the statement said.

DPM Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security, was accompanied by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli and Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry) Tan Wu Meng.

Earlier yesterday, DPM Teo visited the University of Jordan, where he met its president, Dr Abdel-Kareem Al-Qudah, toured the university's faculty of syariah, and interacted with its staff and students.

Both sides welcomed the increasing numbers of Singaporean students enrolled in the university and discussed collaboration in Islamic education. Around 50 Singaporeans are studying at the university.

DPM Teo also had a working lunch with Jordanian business leaders. "They had a substantive discussion on economic developments in Jordan. Both sides agreed that there was potential for our companies to collaborate in regional markets," the statement said.

Last night, DPM Teo attended a panel discussion and reception with more than 120 Singaporeans in Jordan, most of them students training to be religious teachers.

The panel discussion saw a lively exchange of views on social issues and developments in Singapore, with DPM Teo underscoring to them the important role they played in contributing to Singapore's society.

Writing on his Facebook page, Mr Masagos said the students posed "many tough but good questions, including the value of Islamic education in the current global environment and the religious students' relevance to a modern economy like Singapore."

Mr Masagos, who is also Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, said he also stressed the importance the students played as future asatizah.

"We reiterated the key roles they as future asatizah play in guiding the community forward while maintaining our precious religious harmony and nation-building."

He said they also discussed the impact of economic disruptions on the students' job opportunities in Singapore as well as areas where they could improve.

The visit to Jordan is part of a Middle East trip that included a stop in Oman last weekend. The trip is part of Singapore's ongoing engagement with countries in the region.

Correction note: This report has been edited for accuracy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2018, with the headline 'DPM Teo, Jordan's King Abdullah reaffirm warm ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe