Muhyiddin's visit to Singapore postponed due to rise in Covid-19 cases

Plans for Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to visit Singapore and meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have been postponed because of the escalating Covid-19 situation in both countries.

Announcing this yesterday, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his Malaysian counterpart, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, said the meeting between the two leaders, which was planned for today, was about the gradual resumption of cross-border travel.

The current situation in both countries, however, does not provide the "right environment" to discuss this, they noted.

Singapore has tightened measures due to a spike in cases in the community and the emergence of new clusters over the past week, while Malaysia has similarly announced it will review its Covid-19 protocols following a jump in cases over the past two weeks.

Said Mr Hishammuddin: "We have to stress that it is very challenging for both sides to come up with a concrete and safe solution (for) cross-border movements at the moment, and also to frame what we can announce to the public.

"So we both felt that it would be much more opportune for the two prime ministers to meet at a slightly later date, at a more appropriate time."

Dr Balakrishnan said he understood the need to postpone Tan Sri Muhyiddin's visit to Singapore.

"Given the very volatile nature of the Covid situation on both sides, it makes sense to focus primarily on the domestic control of the pandemic while Datuk Hishammuddin and myself continue to do our homework on the parameters for the schemes that can be announced later," he said.

During Dr Balakrishnan's visit to Malaysia in March, Mr Muhyiddin said Singapore had sent a letter from PM Lee, inviting him to attend the 10th Malaysia-Singapore Annual Leaders' Retreat.

During his two-day visit here at the weekend, Mr Hishammuddin called on PM Lee and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.

"They welcomed further exchanges between the ministers and officials of both sides to strengthen cooperation in confronting the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. - THE STRAITS TIMES