Teo hopes to deepen Indonesia ties 

Singapore is committed to long-term ties with Indonesia and is working to ensure that the agenda for the Leaders’ Retreat on September 7 will deepen cooperation, says the Lion City’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

During a three-day visit to Jakarta, Teo said the summit would mark 50 years of diplomatic engagement.

After talks with President Joko Widodo, they pledged to deepen cooperation on the digital economy, skills upgrading, economic and regional development and to continue collaborating in social and cultural exchanges and security.

“We are very close neighbours and we have built up this relationship of trust over the past 50 years,” said Teo. “Therefore the theme for this year’s retreat is ‘trusted partners, rising together’.”

He also said it was good for Singapore and Asean to have a united, stable and prosperous Indonesia.

“Indonesia also sees many advantages in working with Singapore. We have been Indonesia’s largest investor for several years now, a major trading partner and we are also a very strong interlocutor on issues such as security, which affects both of us and the whole region.”

The deputy prime minister also mentioned Singapore’s presidential election to the Jakarta media.

“We have not had a president from the Malay community for 47 years… and we have made constitutional changes this year to reinforce the importance of multiracialism in Singapore,” Teo said. “My hope for the presidential election is the hope of all Singaporeans – that we have a president who is able, a person of integrity… who will uphold the principles of multiracialism, multi-religionism… and a president whom all communities can be proud of.”

The city-state’s productivity could improve this year, having achieved 1-per-cent increase last year, said embattled Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Lee said last year was the first time in several years that a positive productivity figure had been recorded.

“Productivity is important because it means each worker is able to produce more and therefore we can earn more, therefore the company can do better, therefore Singapore can progress,” Lee said.

“This year, our productivity may do a little bit better still and that’s an encouraging sign,” Lee told a dinner in his constituency. “It shows that our policies are working, we are able to upgrade our economy and we are able steadily to improve everybody’s lives.”

Speaking in Malay, Chinese and English, the prime minister said Singapore was celebrating its 52nd birthday in sound health.

“It’s not quite like SG50 [pictured] but there’s still much for us to celebrate,” Lee said. “The country is doing well, the economy continues to grow.”

SG50 two years ago. Picture credit: Wikipedia