Lee defends $15m summit bill 

Singapore has been in the news this week as it hosted the Trump-Kim talks for which the bill would reach around US$15 million, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 

He said it was Singapore’s contribution to an international endeavour that was “in our profound interest”. “It is a cost we are willing to pay,” said the world leader with the highest official annual wage of around US$1.7 million. 

Lee said security costs would account for about half the cost of the unique summit. 

Singapore’s authorities were providing “all-round protection and in-depth protection: air, sea, land, against attack and against mishap”, Lee said. 

“So this is a very major operation because it’s a high-profile meeting and we cannot afford to have anything go wrong.”

Around 2,500 journalists arrived for the event and were being hosted at a media centre at the F1 Pit Building at a cost of around US$3.5 million. All the cost are overshadowed by Singapore’s US$120-million reported Formula One bill. 

“Singapore, Malaysia”

Malaysian social-media users were entertained by a US blunder when its State Department referred to Singapore as part of Malaysia.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted that they arrived at a hotel in “Singapore, Malaysia”.

The neighbours were united when Singapore joined Malaya and the two Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak to form the new federation of Malaysia under the Malaysia Agreement in 1963.

But Singapore was expelled over ethnic divisions with Malaysia in 1965.

The resort island of Sentosa, which hosted Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, has beaches, casinos and golf courses. 

With around 19 million visitors annually and about 6,000 residents, Sentosa has attracted attention this week for its wartime past. 

While Sentosa means “peace and tranquillity”, the purpose-built tourist attraction was used as a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp for British and Australian personnel after the humiliating allied surrender in 1942 during the Second World War.

Executions of large numbers of Singapore’s ethnic Chinese suspected of being involved in anti-Japanese activity were conducted on its beaches. 

Until 1972 it was called Pulau Belakang Mati, or “island of death from behind”, presumably in reference to the summary executions. It was renamed in an official campaign to create a resort island.


Sentosa was regarded as a safe venue for the unique summit. Picture credit: Wikimedia