Senior Minister of State (SMS), Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman visited Medan in North Sumatra Province on 14 August 2018, and Batam in Riau Islands (KEPRI) Province on 15 August 2018.

In Medan, SMS Maliki met North Sumatra Provincial Secretary R. Sabrina. They reaffirmed the warm relationship and substantial economic ties between North Sumatra and Singapore, as well as discussed potential areas for closer economic cooperation, especially in the cruise tourism sector. SMS Maliki also met Medan Mayor Dzulmi Eldin. They acknowledged the widening scope for Singapore-Medan collaboration in the areas of skills training, urban solutions, and transportation. SMS additionally met North Sumatra Vice Governor-elect Musa Rajekshah. Both sides looked forward to further strengthening bilateral relations under the new provincial leadership of Governor-elect Edy Rahmayadi and Vice Governor-elect Musa. SMS also had lunch with local business leaders, where they had a wide ranging discussion on domestic and regional developments, including North Sumatra's growth potential and opportunities.

In Batam, SMS Maliki had a joint meeting with KEPRI Assistant for Economy and Development Syamsul Bahrum, Batam Mayor Muhammad Rudi and BP Batam Chairman Lukita Dinarsyah Tuwo. During the meeting, both sides reaffirmed Singapore's longstanding partnership and strong economic ties with KEPRI. SMS Maliki also reiterated Singapore's support for KEPRI's continued economic development and highlighted the importance of having a stable business environment to attract investors. SMS also visited the Nongsa Digital Park.

SMS Maliki was the Guest-of-Honour at the Singapore National Day Receptions hosted by the Singapore Consulates-General in Medan and in Batam on 14 August 2018 and 15 August 2018 respectively. The receptions were attended by local dignitaries, officials, and members of the Singapore community living in Medan and Batam. The full texts of SMS Maliki's speeches at the receptions are appended.

1 Good evening. I am honoured to be in Medan to celebrate Singapore's 53rd National Day with you. I was also here in 2016 to join in celebrations then. I am delighted to be back and to see so many familiar faces, and new ones too. I look forward to meeting all of you over the course of the evening.

2 I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Bapak Edy Rahmayadi and Bapak Musa Rajekshah, the Governor and Vice-Governor-elect of North Sumatra. I also bid farewell to outgoing North Sumatra Governor Bapak Tengku Erry, and wish him well in his future endeavours. Earlier today, I had the pleasure of meeting Vice-Governor-elect Bapak Musa, Provincial Secretary Ibu Sabrina and Mayor of Medan Bapak Dzulmi Eldin. We had a good discussion on many issues, and exchanged ideas on deepening cooperation between Singapore and North Sumatra. I look forward to continuing this close cooperation under the province's new leadership.

3 Singapore and Indonesia are old and close friends. Last year, our two countries celebrated the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations. We also upgraded Singapore's Consulates in Batam and Medan to Consulates-General. This shows Singapore's desire to deepen our engagement with regions in Indonesia, and the direct cooperation between Singapore and Indonesian provinces.

4 Singapore's ties with North Sumatra are strong and multi-faceted. The beautiful Lake Toba is a tourist destination for many Singaporeans. And of course, Singaporeans and Medanese share a common love for a favourite local dish, nasi lemak! Singapore and North Sumatra also share deep economic and people-to-people ties. Bilateral trade and investment have been consistently high. Singapore is North Sumatra's top foreign investor, with a cumulative realised investment of US$1.59 billion from 1968 to 2016. There are many Singapore companies operating in Medan, including in the F&B and retail sectors as well as in the chemicals and power plants sectors, to name a few.

5 We also hope to see more people-to-people exchanges not only between our government officials and private sector but among our youth. We would like to encourage more of our students to visit North Sumatra and learn about its rich history and traditions, people and culture.

6 There is great potential for further cooperation, especially in tourism, urban solutions and even smart cities. Cruise tourism is an exciting avenue to explore further. As urban centres which face common challenges, Singapore and Medan can also learn from each other to address issues of sustainable development, transport, clean water and environmental planning. Our companies are ready to contribute to find innovative solutions to these challenges.]

7 Before I conclude, allow me to thank our Consul-General in Medan, Richard Grosse and his team, for organising a lovely reception. Outgoing Consul-General Mark Low has built a solid partnership with all of you. I wish him well as he moves to his next post as Consul-General in Batam. And I know that you will extend to CG Richard the same friendship and cooperation in Medan and North Sumatra.

8 I end with a short pantun signifying the warm ties between Singapore and North Sumatra:

Travelling in Medan in the past

Stop in Toba to whet one's appetite

We forge close friendships

Between North Sumatra and Singapore]

I wish you all a pleasant evening. Thank you.

1 Good evening, and thank you for the warm welcome to Batam. I am glad to be back in Batam, which I last visited in 2016. I am also very happy to see a good turnout of Indonesian and Singaporean friends who have joined us here today.

2 There are frequent exchanges and interactions between Singapore and Batam. I recently met Mayor Rudi in Singapore on the sidelines of the World Cities Summit in July this year. In March 2018, Minister (Foreign Affairs) Dr Vivian Balakrishnan visited Batam to officiate the launch of the Nongsa Digital Park with Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibu Retno Marsudi.

3 Singapore and KEPRI have a longstanding and positive partnership. In 2017, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Singapore-Indonesia diplomatic relations.

4 Singapore upgraded our Consulates in Batam and Medan to Consulates-General in August 2017. This was a reflection of Singapore's desire to deepen engagement with Indonesia's regions.

5 Singapore is the largest cumulative investor in KEPRI. As of September 2017, Singapore had a total investment of USD 1.93 billion, with USD 1.2 billion in Batam.

6 There are many synergies between Singapore and KEPRI in the tourism sector. From January to May 2018, Singapore accounted for around 45% of tourist arrivals into KEPRI. Singapore and Batam are also working together to facilitate greater connectivity so that foreign tourists to Singapore can also make a visit to Batam and KEPRI. For instance, Genting Cruise Line has recently launched a Dream Cruises itinerary to Bintan, with the maiden voyage in July 2018.

7 I am also happy to hear that KEPRI's economy is doing well. In the first half of 2018, economic growth reached 4.49 per cent. Notwithstanding the achievement, we know that Batam has the potential to do even better.

8 While cooperation between Singapore and KEPRI goes back a long way, the nature of our bilateral projects have been evolving. We are currently embarking on digital economy projects together, in order to build a digital bridge between Singapore and Batam.

9 The Nongsa Digital Park, or NDP, can be such a 'digital bridge'. Since its launch just three months ago in March 2018 with only 20 companies, the NDP has grown to over 50 companies, with 57 workers and 47 potential job openings in June 2018. This is a model for win-win cooperation and job creation for the people of KEPRI and Batam. In addition, there are on-going plans to develop Train-the-Trainers programme to augment the start-up ecosystem.

10 There are also close links between our government officials and peoples. I understand that my Singapore colleagues from the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) are here with us today.]

12 I would also like to take this opportunity to make special mention of the Batam Singapore Community Club as well as Singaporeans living and working Batam, for their contributions in fostering a Singaporean community spirit here.

13 The Batam Singapore Community Club has not only been active in giving back to the Batam community, but also generous and kind in rallying together to support fellow Singaporeans who require assistance. I am heartened to see the Singapore kampung spirit going strong here in Batam.

Singapore Consulate-General in Batam

14 I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge someone whom I'm sure all of you here today know well � outgoing Consul-General Gavin Chay. In his five years heading the Singapore Consulate-General in Batam, Gavin has done an excellent job in fostering closer ties between Singapore and KEPRI, and bring our peoples together. I wish him all the best in his next assignment.

15 I am also pleased to welcome CG Mark Low, who will be taking over. I am confident that Mark will continue to strengthen Singapore-KEPRI relations. Indeed, CG Mark is not unfamiliar to Indonesia, having previously served as CG in Medan.

Conclusion

16 In closing, I wish you success in your endeavours, and look forward to closer relations between Singapore and KEPRI for the mutual benefit of our peoples.

17 Indonesia will be celebrating its independence day on 17 August this year, in two days' time. I wish our Indonesian friends and partners a Happy Independence Day.

18 Please allow me to end my remarks with a pantun. Ijinkan saya

Blue waters of KEPRI seas

Incomparably beautiful islands

KEPRI and Singapore as old friends

Stepping forward together]

Terima kasih.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore