JAKARTA: Singapore is committed to a long-term relationship with Indonesia and has worked on a good agenda for the upcoming Leaders' Retreat next month, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Saturday (Aug 12) as he wrapped up a two-day working visit to Jakarta.
Mr Teo said that Singapore and Indonesia are very close neighbours and that both countries have built up this relationship of trust over the past five decades.
During his trip, Mr Teo had met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to discuss the agenda for the Leaders' Retreat in Singapore, which will mark the 50th anniversary of relations between the two countries.
"For Singapore to see a united, stable, prosperous Indonesia is good, not just for Indonesia, but for the whole ASEAN region, as well as for Singapore," Mr Teo said to Singapore reporters at the end of his trip.
"We benefit from that and I think our Indonesian friends understand that as well, and that provides a good basis for our relationship."
During the Leaders' Retreat, both countries are expected to discuss new initiatives in the areas of investments, skills upgrading, the digital economy and promoting regional development in Indonesia.
ENHANCING CYBER SECURITY
On Friday, Mr Teo also met with Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto.
They exchanged views on regional security issues, including on the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State militant group, and welcomed enhanced bilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism and cyber security.
"Minister Wiranto is overseeing the build-up of cyber security agency efforts in Indonesia, and I've worked together with Minister Yaacob in cyber security in Singapore," said Mr Teo. "So, I've invited him to come to the Cyber Week in Singapore and I hope he will be able to do so, share their experiences and see how we can work together more closely."
The digital economy is another area both countries are keen to work more closely on.
Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, who accompanied Mr Teo to Jakarta, said Singaporeans should be encouraged to explore opportunities in the exciting start-up scene in Indonesia.
"In fact increasingly, we find many Singaporeans, young Singaporeans responding to that call coming here to explore opportunities," said Mr Tan, who spent two years in Indonesia as an army attache. "In the traditional business communities there are already a lot of ties especially at the senior level, but here you have young Singaporeans coming on board, and that augurs well for the future."
On the issue of transboundary haze, Mr Teo said Singapore appreciates what the Indonesian government has done to combat forest fires. He said he hoped that in the interest of the Indonesian people and also of others in the region these efforts would be successful.
COMMITMENT TO MULTIRACIALISM
Mr Teo also commented on the Singapore Presidential Election which will be held next month, describing it as the country's commitment to multiracialism.
"I look forward to this coming election allowing us to have a president from the Malay community whom all communities in Singapore can look up to as a symbol of unity, and whom all communities in Singapore can be proud of as president, and this is what I hope for - it's a symbol of multiracialism and our commitment to multiracialism in Singapore," said Mr Teo.
On Saturday, Mr Teo also met with about 500 Singaporeans during the annual Singapore Community Day held in Jakarta.
He urged Singaporeans to be ambassadors for Singapore and to let Indonesians know how Singaporeans are, what Singapore stands for, and what the country really is.