Datuk Seri Azmin Ali

SINGAPORE: Maintaining strong ties between Singapore and Malaysia is in the best interests of both countries, says Malaysia’s Minister of Economic Affairs Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

“We are each other’s closest neighbour connected by deep historical ties and family bonds. Let’s work things out for the well-being and future of our people,” he said in his latest Facebook update late Sunday.

Mohamed Azmin is here for a bilateral visit despite the postponement of the 14th meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM), which was originally scheduled for today.

He would still meet Singapore’s National Development Minister Lawrence Wong and Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, as scheduled, to discuss other bilateral issues between Malaysia and Singapore today.

“I am confident of the positive approach taken by our two countries to overcome any bilateral issues. Looking forward to my meetings with Singaporean ministers tomorrow (Monday),” he wrote.

Mohamed Azmin was expected to have led the Malaysian delegation to the JMCIM meeting.

However, both countries had mutually agreed to postpone the meeting.

He told reporters in Tanah Rata, in the Cameron Highlands in Pahang, Malaysia, last Saturday, the meeting was postponed because certain issues to be discussed in the JMCIM meeting were closely related to matters already raised in a bilateral meeting between Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Dr Vivian Balakrishnan last Tuesday (Jan 8).

Mohamed Azmin had a meeting with Balakrishnan on Sunday evening over dinner and described it as a “productive meeting”.

“Productive meeting with HE Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs, this evening as we work towards resolving some bilateral issues,” he said in his posting which was appended with three photos of him and Balakrishnan.

Meanwhile, Balakrishnan said that he “had a good meeting of minds” over dinner with Mohamed Azmin Ali on Sunday evening.

“We had an open and candid discussion of the issues currently confronting us,” he wrote on his Facebook late Sunday.

“We reaffirmed that there are far more opportunities for Malaysia and Singapore to work together, especially at this time of global economic transformation,” he said in his posting which was accompanied with a photo of him with Mohamed Azmin strolling along the Singapore River.

Balakrishnan is expected to answer 14 oral questions related to bilateral issues with Malaysia at Parliament sitting later today.

– Bernama

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