Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived at Kuala Lumpur today (19 May) to meet Dr Mahathir, after the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan led by Dr Mahathir achieved a historic win at the Malaysia GE14 last Wednesday (9 May).
However, Dr Mahathir only met him for half an hour.
According to Yahoo news, PM Lee was seen entering the Perdana Leadership Foundation building at 11am, where the meeting was held. Then at 11.30am, he was seen leaving the building after shaking hands with Dr Mahathir.
Only official media outlets were allowed coverage of the meeting, while media personnel from various agencies camped outside the foundation from as early as 10am.
Earlier, Dr Mahathir had said that his new government will review all foreign projects, including the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail.
It’s not known exactly what was discussed during the short time. The scheduled meeting was supposed to give a chance for the two Prime Ministers to discuss bilateral ties.
Dr Mahathir has said that he was willing to address any topics should Singapore side bring them up during the meeting.
High Speed Rail not discussed
After the meeting, however, PM Lee told the press himself that the High Speed Rail project was not discussed.
PM Lee also met Anwar, the designated PM to take over Dr Mahathir after a couple of years.
“I said to him, he’s travelling to many countries in the world. If he wants time to reflect, to write, perhaps to detach himself a little bit for a while, we welcome him to Singapore, come to one of our institutes and write a book,” PM Lee told the press.
“So he said he would consider that.”
It looks like PM Lee is desperately trying to get into the good books of the new Malaysian government after Najib fell. The general consensus is that PM Lee and Najib, when Najib was still the PM, were seen as great pals, regularly savoring durians together.
When asked by reporters if Malaysia’s move to abolish the GST would make it harder for Singapore government to sell its GST hike to Singaporeans, PM Lee said that the circumstances are different.
PM Lee stressed that his Government is taking the planned GST hike “very seriously”.
“We’ve given a lot of notice. I think there’s time to explain and there’s time to work out how exactly we will make sure that Singaporeans are given the right support in order to be able to live with the new tax,” he said.