Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak have welcomed both countries' steady progress on joint iconic projects in Singapore and the Iskandar region, as well as in other areas of co-operation.
PUTRAJAYA: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak have welcomed both countries' steady progress on joint iconic projects in Singapore and the Iskandar region, as well as in other areas of co-operation.
At a joint on Monday morning, both leaders also reviewed the progress on improving connectivity between Malaysia and , including the proposed high- (HSR) and a rapid transit system link (RTS).
The announcements were made following the fifth Malaysia-Singapore Leaders' Retreat in Putrajaya on Monday.
The high-speed rail, slated to be completed by 2020, will facilitate seamless travel between and Singapore, enhance business linkages and bring both countries closer together.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed that Tuas West and Jurong East were some of the likely locations where the station could be located.
Meanwhile, Malaysia has said its station will be located in Sungai Besi.
But Mr Lee said there is still much to be settled, such as its design, financing, as well as security and .
This will require work on both sides.
The leaders also noted work done on the first phase of the joint for the rapid transit system link between Singapore and Johor Bahru.
At the press conference following the leaders' meeting, Mr Najib said that he had also proposed a "friendship bridge" between the two countries.
Mr Najib said: "Another initiative which I like to stress is a long-term initiative, looking at the road links between Malaysia and - a proposal to have a friendship bridge that will certainly enhance good connectivity, improve the environment as well as create much stronger links between our two countries and symbol of the growing friendship."
In response, Mr Lee agreed that will need to widen the links across the Straits of Johor and has been studying this for the long term.
To provide greater convenience for commuters, Mr Lee said the Customs & Immigration Quarantine Complex will most probably be co-located for the rail transit and the high-speed rail.
Mr Najib also proposed joint border control to be implemented for the rail transit system link and the high-speed rail, which means having only one checkpoint for entry into both .
He added that this will enhance connectivity of goods, services and people between both countries.
Both leaders also noted the progress in Iskandar Malaysia and commended the work of the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia.
Mr Najib said: "Iskandar Malaysia is a strategic play to raise Malaysia above the global competition and to help Singapore maintain our economic competitiveness by integrating our two economies and complementing one another.
“And we agreed that it's important to develop the Iskandar Malaysia project comprehensively not just in services, not just in residential properties, although they are important, but also in manufacturing, in industries in order to create jobs, to attract investments, have an organic, comprehensive, dynamic centre of economic vitality in Johor."
These include UK-based metal-stockist Howco Group's decision to build a S$20-million heat treatment facility in Iskandar Malaysia to complement operations.
Mr Lee added that as Iskandar thrives, having a skilled labour force is also crucial.
As such, both leaders welcomed ongoing discussions between the various agencies for both countries for collaboration in vocational training.
They also acknowledged that the transboundary haze pollution is a recurring problem for the region and have reaffirmed their commitment to take decisive actions to solve the problem.
Mr Lee also expressed his deepest sympathies over the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and said stands ready to help Malaysia in the next phase of investigations.
Meanwhile, Mr Najib said Malaysia appreciated 's prompt assistance in search and rescue operations.
Both leaders have agreed to hold the next retreat in 2015 in Singapore and looked forward to the state visit by Malaysia’s head of state to Singapore later in April.