MFA Press Statement: Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat in Semarang, Indonesia on 14 November 2016
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Semarang, Indonesia, on 14 November 2016 for the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat. This was Prime Minister Lee’s first Leaders’ Retreat with President Joko Widodo. Prime Minister Lee and President Joko Widodo also officially opened the Kendal Industrial Park (KIP), a 2,700 hectare joint-venture project between SembCorp Development and PT Kawasan Industri Jababeka, located 25 kilometres from Semarang. Both Leaders welcomed the positive progress in bilateral relations, reflected in the extensive and wide-ranging cooperation between both countries, and reiterated their commitment to strengthening ties.
Prime Minister Lee and President Joko Widodo announced that Singapore and Indonesia will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2017. Singapore will host the next Leaders’ Retreat and both sides will hold commemorative events to showcase the breadth and depth of the close and warm bilateral ties that have developed over the last 50 years.
The Leaders underscored the robust economic ties between Singapore and Indonesia, and highlighted the KIP as an excellent example of mutually-beneficial economic cooperation. Singapore was Indonesia’s top investor for the last two years, with investments amounting to US$5.9 billion in 2015, and US$7.1 billion for the first nine months of 2016. The KIP’s success will create jobs, promote industrial growth and infrastructure development not only in Kendal but also in the nearby city of Semarang and the province of Central Java.
The Leaders also welcomed the progress made by the six bilateral Economic Working Groups. A concrete outcome of the discussions within the Tourism Working Group is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in the Field of Tourism which was signed by Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran and Minister of Tourism of Indonesia Arief Yahya, and witnessed by Prime Minister Lee and President Joko Widodo. The MOU will foster closer bilateral cooperation in tourism, including in promoting an even bigger flow of tourists between Singapore and Indonesia. This will deepen the already strong people-to-people links between the two countries. The Leaders also welcomed the signing of the commemorative MOU on Hospitality and Tourism Capability Development between Republic Polytechnic and four National Tourism Institutions under the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism, to support capacity building in Indonesia’s hospitality and tourism sector.
Prime Minister Lee and President Joko Widodo discussed the possibility of Singapore companies cooperating with Indonesian companies in the energy sector. Such cooperation will increase access to energy for the people of Indonesia, and help to meet the region’s growing energy needs.
The Leaders also discussed potential ways to expand bilateral cooperation in new sectors including the digital economy. They welcomed the MOU signed between International Enterprise Singapore and Makassar City, which will promote Makassar’s development through Smart City solutions and technology. Both Leaders also welcomed the ongoing collaboration between Indonesian and Singapore private sector players in Batam’s digital economy sector. Singapore-based companies such as Microsoft and Liquid Pay are planning to set up a presence in Batam to catalyse the development of a digital ecosystem in Batam. Indonesia and Singapore companies are also interested to explore a data centre in Batam. The Leaders noted that the MOU between Temasek Polytechnic and the Batam State Polytechnic would also help develop a skilled talent pool to meet IT companies’ needs in Batam.
The Leaders also agreed to form a Singapore-Indonesia Business Council comprising business leaders from both countries. This will allow businesses from both sides to network and more deeply understand opportunities in Singapore and Indonesia.
The Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation, both bilaterally and together with other countries in the region, to tackle the threat of radicalisation and violent extremism.
Prime Minister Lee welcomed President Joko Widodo’s commitment in addressing the issue of transboundary haze pollution which affects Indonesia, Singapore and the region. Prime Minister Lee reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to work with Indonesia on this front.
Source: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SINGAPORE