Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli visited Batam on 13 August 2014 to attend the Singapore National Day Reception hosted by our Consulate in Batam as the Guest-of-Honour. 

            During the visit, SMS Masagos met Riau Islands Province (KEPRI) Vice Governor Soerya Respationo.  During the meeting, they re-affirmed the warm and long-standing relations between Singapore and KEPRI.  SMS Masagos noted that Singapore and KEPRI have a historical and productive economic partnership.  SMS Masagos and Vice Governor Soerya discussed ways to strengthen economic cooperation as well as other aspects of the relationship, such as people to people links.  SMS Masagos also met a group consisting of local political as well as business representatives, and Singaporeans working in KEPRI.

            The full text of SMS Masagos’ speech at the Reception is attached.



Your Excellencies

Bapak Soerya Respationo, Vice Governor KEPRI

Fellow Singaporeans,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for joining us at today’s reception to mark Singapore’s 49th National Day.  Let me start by wishing all of you Selamat Lebaran.  I would like to congratulate all Indonesians on the successful and peaceful 2014 Parliamentary and Presidential elections. Indonesia stands as a model democracy for the world.  I would also like to convey my good wishes for Indonesia’s 69th Independence Day this Sunday.

I am delighted to be back in Batam again.  I was last here in 2013, also for the National Day Reception.  It is an opportunity for me to renew my friendships here as well as forge new relationships.  It is the trait of close neighbours that we celebrate our joyous occasions together.  That is why the Singapore Consulate in Batam has invited our many Indonesian friends to celebrate this special occasion with Singaporeans in KEPRI this evening.

Earlier this evening, I had the honour and pleasure of meeting with Vice-Governor Soerya and a small group of personalities from a cross-section of KEPRI society.  I am most heartened to note from my various meetings that the relationship between KEPRI and Singapore remains strong and is growing.

President Tony Tan met President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Batam this June.  They had a wide-ranging discussion on issues of regional and international importance.  The location also provided the perfect backdrop to reaffirm the long-standing relations between our two countries.  It is a fact that the flow of trade and people between the islands of KEPRI and Singapore had been in place long before there were formal diplomatic relations between Jakarta and Singapore.  These represent the bonds of geography and history on which the strong bilateral relations between both our countries are founded on.

It is a credit to both sides that we have maintained the historically strong economic ties between KEPRI and Singapore.  Singapore continues to be KEPRI’s largest trading partner.  We should continue to build upon our longstanding collaboration in order to bring mutual benefits.  To this end, the Working Group on Cooperation in the Islands of Batam, Bintan and Karimun and other Special Economic Zones (BBK SEZ WG) has made steady progress.  The third Singapore-Indonesia joint investment promotion trip to Qingdao, China and Taiwan was held in November last year.  We have also successfully completed several capacity-building courses and a workshop on manpower management and tripartite relations.  Such collaboration will help to improve the business climate and attract more investment to the region.

I am heartened by the growth of our people-to-people ties.  Tourism links between Singapore and KEPRI are expanding, with 50% of tourist arrivals in KEPRI coming from Singapore in the first half of the year.  These exchanges are important to help foster better understanding among both sides.  I am also pleased to note that more than 260 KEPRI officials have been trained in areas such as public administration and the English language under the Singapore Cooperation Programme.  We are planning more such collaborative courses, in areas such as tourism.

To my fellow Singaporeans who are working and living in KEPRI, I would like to acknowledge your role as the true Ambassadors of the Singapore-KEPRI relationship.  I urge you to continue to contribute positively to the  KEPRI community.  There is much scope for us to build on the regular community service projects conducted by Singapore schools and other organisations in KEPRI.  This includes the ongoing work done by the Singapore International Foundation.  I was also pleased to learn of a recent donation of 400 chairs by a group of Singaporeans to primary schools in Moro, Karimun.  These are gestures by which we can demonstrate our appreciation to our hosts and friends here in KEPRI.

I would like to end my remarks today with a traditional pantun I have composed specially for this occasion:

Gulai nangka berkuah pekat

Sedap disantap di hari raya

Kepri Singapura Jaraknya Dekat

Rukun kini hingga selamanya

Thank you.  I wish you all an enjoyable evening ahead.

.     .     .     .     .





13 AUGUST 2014