Despite the ongoing maritime dispute between Malaysia and Singapore, Malaysia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah considers bilateral relations with the city state “good” despite the need for further discussions on several matters.
“Our relations with Singapore remain good. There are some issues but we are talking to each other, and that is very important…..Most importantly, the discussions are going on. I am confident the discussions are moving in the right direction,” Mr Saifuddin said.
Mr Saifuddin also added that both countries would be steadfast in their negotiations.
“We have always safeguarded our sovereignty and our independence. We just have to continue talking to our Singapore counterparts,” he maintained.
In a separate session, Malaysian Minister for Economic Affairs Mohamed Azmin also views Malaysia-Singapore relations to be incredibly encouraging. The comment was made after meeting Singapore ministers to discuss bilateral issues and following Singapore’s decision to postpone joint ministerial committee talks on Iskandar.
“I must say the meeting was very productive, very good and the momentum of our relationship is very positive.” speaking to news media.
Mr Azmin underscored that there were “issues that we have to deal with”, but he did not want “a particular statement by any side” to derail the main objective of both governments.
“We want to ensure that Singapore and Malaysia will continue to enjoy (a) very close working relationship because we want to ensure that this is the right time for us to enhance our cooperation especially in this particular region,” he added
Despite the postponement of the joint ministerial committee talks, Mr Saifuddin said that Mr Azmin had carried on with discussions on other bilateral issues with Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.
“We are moving forward,” he said.
In a Facebook post, Dr Balakrishnan admitted that he had “an open and candid discussion” with Mr Azmin.
“We reaffirmed that there are far more opportunities for Malaysia and Singapore to work together, especially at this time of global economic transformation”, Dr Balakrishnan said.