SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hosted a special dinner at the Istana for Their Majesties Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, HM The Permaisuri of Johor, Raja Zarith Sofiah, and Their Royal Highnesses HRH Crown Prince of Johor Tunku Ismail and Che’ Puan Khaleeda on Tuesday (10 Oct) night.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the growing relationship between Singapore and Johor, attributing it to the wise leadership of Sultan Ibrahim.
He pointed out the ambitious projects launched to improve trade and connectivity, particularly highlighting the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link, and expressed eagerness for upcoming discussions regarding the establishment of a Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
“During our last visit to Johor, Tuanku served Ho Ching and me a very sedap nasi ulam that I had requested for. I reciprocated his gracious hospitality by serving him crab curry along with some of his other favourite local dishes.”
He underlined the significance of Johor as Singapore’s gateway to Malaysia, emphasizing the deep-rooted friendship and kinship that goes beyond mere neighbors, describing both sides as partners.
The dinner also saw the presence of Singapore’s Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam and his wife, Madam Seetha Shanmugam.
In a separate update on the official Facebook account of Sultan Johor, the event was highlighted as part of a series of cross-border events and visits, showcasing the enduring and warm special relationship and goodwill shared between these neighboring nations.
Tuanku Sultan Johor is recognized as a strong advocate for closer Johor-Singapore ties, underscoring the potential for win-win outcomes and tangible benefits for both nations through cooperation.
He believes that, aside from the already strong people-to-people linkages, there’s immense potential to further elevate relations for the mutual benefit of the people on both sides.
Malaysia and Singapore collaborate on the Johor-Singapore SEZ
In a pivotal development, Malaysia and Singapore had previously concurred in July to establish a special task force tasked with studying the creation of the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone.
In an exclusive interview with Bernama last month, HM Sultan Johor emphasized that as the special economic zone (SEZ) between Johor and Singapore takes form, alongside the development of a special financial zone in Forest City, he envisions a promising future for Johor.
He envisions the state’s presence being solidified on the global stage.
When sharing his vision to position Johor prominently on the global map, the Johor ruler stressed the importance of attracting more investments, particularly from high-technology companies.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced the establishment of the trade zone and financial hub, showcasing Singapore’s keen interest in collaborating with Johor.
Sultan Ibrahim also underscored Johor’s potential to become a significant solar energy producer, thanks to the state’s ample land resources.
Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi earlier expressed the view that with the SEZ becoming a reality, Johor could evolve into the next Shenzhen, a global hub for technology, research, manufacturing, business, economics, finance, tourism, and transportation, similar to Shenzhen in China.
Onn Hafiz also revealed that the finalization of the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the proposed Johor-Singapore SEZ is anticipated to take place during the Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat, set to occur on October 30th in Singapore.
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