Maintain strong ties with neighbours especially Singapore, says Nazri


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 23 Nov 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: Future foreign policy must ensure that Malaysia maintains good diplomatic relations with its neighbouring countries especially Singapore, says Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (BN-Padang Rengas).

"Singapore is important to us because if we look closely, there are many matters between the two countries that take place on a daily basis," he said in his speech in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 23).

Nazri said 500,000 Malaysians are currently employed in Singapore, adding that even after the two countries separated in 1965, ties between them were cordial.

"That is why we must use Singapore as a partner in whatever we do," he added.

Nazri said Singapore was among the countries that invested heavily in Malaysia and noted that in his tenure as Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister from 2013 to 2018, he had targeted Singapore to promote Malaysia as a tourism destination.

"Singapore sent many tourists and they were the number one for many years, (with) 51% to 52% of foreign tourists coming from Singapore.

"That is why I'm saying, we should not see Singapore as the competition."

Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) then interjected, and asked if Nazri agreed that MPs should be made permanent representatives to foreign countries.

Nazri agreed with the proposal, saying that good diplomatic relations with foreign countries are mainly based on "political relationships".

"Politicians who understand international politics can use their experience to ensure that foreign relations that are based on politics, can be improved," Nazri said.

He then reiterated the need for Malaysia to have better relations with Singapore.

"I hope the Prime Minister will visit Singapore after Indonesia," he added.

On Nov 9, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob made his first official visit as ninth prime minister, to Indonesia for three days.

On Aug 9, 1965, Singapore became an independent country and ceased to be a part of Malaysia.

Both Malaysia and Singapore are full members of Asean and the Commonwealth of Nations.

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