Foreign Minister: Malaysia-Singapore ties still good despite absence of high commissioner

File picture shows Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein with his Singapore counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan holding a joint press conference after a bilateral meeting in Putrajaya, March 23, 2021. — Bernama pic
File picture shows Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein with his Singapore counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan holding a joint press conference after a bilateral meeting in Putrajaya, March 23, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KLUANG, April 12 – Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today the absence of a Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore has not affected the bilateral ties of both countries.

He said the relationship between Malaysia and the island republic is still good and normal.

“The appointment of the Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore is still pending and under process by Wisma Putra in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In fact, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be officially visiting Singapore on May 4 where he is scheduled to meet his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong,” said Hishammuddin after officiating the Sembrong parliamentary-level Malaysia Prihatin Programme held in Paloh here.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has had several problems in sending the country’s ambassadors overseas for attachment, including in Singapore which has seen the high commissioner post being vacant for about a year now.

Hishammuddin, who is also the Sembrong MP, explained that Wisma Putra is still in the midst of completing some technical issues regarding the appointment to Singapore.

“Wisma Putra still needs to look into other vacancies that needs to be filled on the appointment of the country’s other ambassadors first.

“I am not denying that the Covid-19 pandemic has made it difficult for us in placing representative of our embassies in several countries,” said Hishammuddin.

On Muhyiddin’s official visit to Singapore, Hishammuddin said among the topics that would be discussed was regarding the reopening of the Malaysia-Singapore border.

He added that Malaysia must still seek Singapore’s approval on opening of the borders despite the Johor state government pushing for its full opening in two months time.

“The discussions are still on going where during Singapore Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan recent visit to Malaysia, I brought up the matter with him,” said Hishammuddin, adding that he will personally see that the agenda will be discussed by Muhyiddin and Lee during their meeting.

It was recently been reported that the post has been vacant for a year now after the previous high commissioner Datuk Zainol Rahim Zainuddin retired in April last year.

For Commonwealth countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, a high commissioner is the senior diplomat (generally ranking as an ambassador) in charge of the diplomatic mission of one Commonwealth government to another in place of an embassy.

At present, the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore is currently being headed by a charge d’affaires for all diplomatic matters.

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