Sep 11, 2006

Malaysia-Singapore ties not affected by scrapping of bridge project

PM Abdullah Badawi's policy is too pro Singapore?

Extracted from BERNAMA
Scrapping Of Bridge Doesn't Dent M'sia-S'pore Ties - Abdullah

HELSINKI, Sept 11 (Bernama) -- Relations between Malaysia and Singapore should not be affected by the recent decision to scrap a bridge project to replace the Johor Causeway that links the two neighbouring countries, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Alluding to his bilateral meeting with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the sidelines of the Sixth Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem6), Abdullah said he took the opportunity to explain to Lee the RM15 billion southern Johor development corridor project.

"The meeting was about our bilateral relation with the hope that it would not be affected by the recent decision not to go ahead with the bridge project," he told Malaysian journalists covering his visit to Helsinki for the biennial Asia-Europe dialogue which was launched in Bangkok in 1996.

Abdullah said that he explained to his Singaporean counterpart that the proposed development in southern Johor would be akin to the one seen in Shenzhen, China.

This, he said, would create a more dynamic region that would help lure foreign investors.

On his talks with British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, Abdullah said that enhancing economic as well as educational and tourism ties were touched upon.

He said that linkages in the field of education were good with many top British universities operating branch campuses in Malaysia.

"But we'd also like to see more British students opting to study at our institutions of higher learning," he added.

Turning to his discussions with Romano Prodi, Abdullah said the Italian prime minister spoke about the need to increase tolerance among people of various religions.

"He commended Malaysia for its policies that have contributed towards binding people of different racial and religious backgrounds together," he said.

In addition, Malaysia and Italy discussed the need to enhance bilateral ties in the areas of economy, human resources and tourism, among others.


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