Singapore will respect the decision of Malaysian leaders and continue to collaborate with the government of the day, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (25 February) in response to the political developments over the border.
Mr Heng was fielding questions about the political situation in neighbouring Malaysia following a visit he made to Parkroyal on Kitchener Road Hotel, reported the Straits Times.
Noting that the situation is evolving rapidly, Mr Heng said that it is a domestic matter and hopes that the various parties “will come to some agreement expeditiously”.
After an eventful weekend, Malaysia’s 7th Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned as the nation’s prime minister yesterday only to be appointed as interim Prime Minister by the country’s sovereign ruler, the King. Dr Mahathir is to remain as interim prime minister until a new leader and cabinet are appointed.
Mahathir also tendered his resignation as President of Bersatu but it was rejected by the party council.
Mahathir’s shock resignation followed a series of events over the weekend involving meetings of opposition political including UMNO, PAS, Warisan Sabah, Gabungan Party Sarawak, Bersatu and a break-away faction of PKR to form a new coalition and backdoor government.
The meeting was supposedly led by PKR’s Azmin Ali who has been at odds with party leader Anwar Ibrahim for a while now and does not support the transition of power from Mahathir to Anwar. That Anwar would succeed Mahathir as Prime Minister was part of the Pakatan Harapan coalition’s plans after it won the 2018 general election.
Right now, the King of Malaysia is meeting all 222 members of parliament to individually to determine which political leader commands the majority of the Dewan Rakyat to become the next prime minister.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Heng said that Malaysia is Singapore’s closest neighbour, noting that both nations have many joint projects in the pipelines including the Singapore-Johor Baru Rapid Transit System and the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail. Most recently, both countries have also come together to set up a joint working group to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.
“We will respect the decision of the Malaysian leaders, and we will work with the government of the day,” said DPM Heng, who is also the Finance Minister.
He added, “I very much hope that we can continue our cooperation quickly. We will work with the government of the day to advance the many areas of bilateral cooperation that we have embarked on, and particularly in dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak.”
Mr Heng also expressed hopes that both nations can work together to strengthen both economies and deal with changes in the global economy.
“There are many areas of cooperation between Malaysia and Singapore that we can pursue, that we must pursue to strengthen one another, as well as to work together in Asean to maintain the unity and centrality of Asean,” said Mr Heng.