KUALA LUMPUR: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah says he hopes that Malaysia and Singapore can expand collaboration in new and emerging areas such as digital economy, green economy and food security.
His Majesty said Singapore consistently remained as one of Malaysia's top trading partners, with Singapore being Malaysia's second largest trading partner and vice versa.
"It is our fervent hope that the close relations will continue to blossom to further strengthen the existing cooperation for the mutual benefits of our two countries and peoples in the years to come," said His Majesty.
Al-Sultan Abdullah said this at a state banquet in honour of Singapore President Halimah Yacob and her delegation at Istana Negara here on Tuesday (March 21).
Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah was in attendance.
Earlier Halimah was accorded a state welcome at Istana Negara in conjunction with her maiden three-day visit to Malaysia which began on Monday (March 20).
As both countries have always shared a strong and close relationship, Al-Sultan Abdullah said he firmly believed that the strong bond of friendship among Malaysians and Singaporeans would continue to be an important factor forming the core of bilateral ties.
"We share a relationship quite unlike any other bound by many factors such as shared history, culture similarities as well as people to people ties, including family links," said His Majesty.
Meanwhile, as founding members of Asean, His Majesty said Malaysia and Singapore must continue to work closely in promoting the region's stability and security, and make Asean a dynamic regional grouping.
His Majesty also said Malaysia and Singapore were inseparable and Halimah's visit was proof of the strong ties between the two countries and their people.
"It is my hope that this visit will strengthen our long-established relationship and open up opportunities for active interaction between Malaysia and Singapore in exploring various opportunities and new fields, and finding the best solutions to various arising matters," said His Majesty.
Al-Sultan Abdullah also expressed the hope that the visit would bring sweet memories to the Singapore president while wishing Halimah and her husband, Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, good health and well-being.
"The Raja Permaisuri Agong and I would also like to take this opportunity to wish a blessed Ramadan to Her Excellency and her family as well as Malaysian and Singaporean Muslims," His Majesty said.
In 2022, Singapore was Malaysia's second largest global trading partner and the largest among Asean countries, with total trade amounting to US$83.53bil (RM373.59bil) – an increase of 29.4% compared to the recorded value in 2021. – Bernama