DPM Wong calls on Malaysia PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob

SINGAPORE – Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong called on Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Monday (Sept 5) during his first official visit across the Causeway since being appointed to the post in June.

They both reaffirmed the substantive and broad-based cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia, and looked forward to both sides working together for continued mutual benefit, including in new areas of cooperation in green and digital economies, said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Both sides also welcomed the good progress on the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link Project – slated to open for service at the end of 2026 – noting that the cross-border service will improve connectivity.

The Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high speed rail (HSR) project came up for discussion as well.

Mr Wong noted Malaysia’s interest in reviving talks and said Singapore is open to fresh proposals.

The original HSR project was terminated in January 2021, after both sides failed to reach an agreement on changes proposed by Malaysia by the deadline of Dec 31, 2020.

Malaysia later paid more than $102 million in compensation to Singapore.

Mr Wong reiterated Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s invitation to Mr Ismail to visit Singapore for the 10th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat.

He also met other politicians and government officials.

At a meeting with Senior Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein, the two men discussed ways to further enhance cooperation between both countries, as well as within Asean, said the Ministry of Finance in a statement.

Mr Wong met Central Bank of Malaysia governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus.

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They discussed how both countries can strengthen financial cooperation in many areas, including sustainable finance, cross-border digital payments, combating scams, and regional financial stability.

He also met Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan and Parti Keadilan Rakyat President Anwar Ibrahim.

He attended a dinner reception and dialogue with Kuala Lumpur Business Club leaders as well.

On Sunday, the first day of his four-day visit, Mr Wong was hosted to dinner by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz.

They discussed the challenges and opportunities for Singapore and Malaysia in the face of global economic headwinds and geopolitical developments, and also played the guitar together in a light moment.