SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak starts the Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat today with a four-eye meeting with his counterpart, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at Istana here.
The meeting is expected to take about 45 minutes followed by a delegation meeting which will last about one hour between the two leaders, Malaysian and Singapore ministers and senior officials from the respective countries.
Malaysian ministers and senior high ranking officials are expected to be present at the meeting including Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.
Others are Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar, and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
Also in the list are Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, Chief Secretary to the Government of Malaysia Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa and Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk Zulkifli Adnan.
On Singapore’s side are Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng, High Commissioner of Singapore to Malaysia Vanu Gopala Menon as well as several high ranking officials.
The highlight of the retreat will be the signing of the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) bilateral agreement between Abdul Rahman and Khaw and memorandum of understanding on educational cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia, which will be inked by Mahdzir and Ng.
Both Najib and Lee will witness the momentous occasion.
Later, Lee and his wife, Ho Ching will host an official lunch for the Malaysian delegation at Istana.
Najib will then attend a high tea session with the Malaysian community here before leaving for Kuala Lumpur.
The RTS Link which was first announced during the leaders’ retreat in 2010, is expected to help both countries address traffic congestion between Johor Bahru and Singapore at the Causeway and Tuas.
Expected to operate in 2024, it will connect public transport services between Singapore and Johor Bahru via the RTS station in Bukit Chagar and the planned Woodlands North MRT station.
The RTS link can carry up to 10,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) or 72,000 passengers daily, which translates to an additional capacity of 60,000 users during peak hours as compared to the average of 300 pphpd currently.
Currently, about 400,000 travellers cross both linkages — Causeway and Tuas, daily.
The leaders’ retreat between the two countries was scheduled for mid Dec last year but postponed as Najib had to attend a special meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Turkey to discuss the United States’ move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. — BERNAMA