Singapore and Indonesia celebrates 50 years of bilateral ties; issue coral reef stamps

Singapore and Indonesia celebrate 50 years of formal diplomatic relations headed by Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

PM Lee and President Jokowi
PM Lee and President Jokowi Facebook

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Joko Widodo glorified the special occasion of 50 years of formal diplomatic alliance between the two nations on Thursday, Sept.7.

Nine Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) on education as well as disaster relief was signed between the two Southeast Asian nations on Thursday. The event saw discussions on essential aspects compulsory for the progress of both Singapore and Indonesia.

"Since our last Leaders' Retreat, many areas of cooperation have been progressing, including investment and skills training, digital economy and initiatives to support regional growth and development in Indonesia," Lee told Channel NewsAsia.

He further stated that Kendal Industrial Park, a joint venture between Singapore's Sembcorp Development and Indonesia's industrial estate developer PT Jababeka, by far has allured 32 confirmed tenants and has made a total investment of US$ 500 million.

This initiative has created better employment opportunities by launching 4,000 jobs. The scheme for setting up a polytechnic for training workers in the industrial park is still under process.

Development of digital economy has been made a priority for both the Southeast Asian nations in the recent meet. According to both the leaders digital economy is an indispensable factor for the progress of the two countries.

"This is no longer an option. It is now imperative. This will be a priority for Indonesia and Singapore. If we can combine, investment, technology with talent and youth market potential, then the digital economy cooperation will make Indonesia as well as Singapore's economy even stronger," said Mr. Widodo.

For further developing the digital economy, Batam has been chosen as the ideal location, with the expansion of the digital conglomeration in Nongsa and the evolution of a start-up incubator.

"Tourism also presents great opportunities which we have yet to optimise. Indonesia has all-encompassing tourism destinations and new destinations continue to be promoted," added Widodo.

Evolution of joint tourist destinations, operating cruise ships, cruise ship harbour constructions and an augmented investment in tourism infrastructure tops the list of future prospects for both the nations.

Lee spoke about the historic joint RISING50 flypast scheduled to take place on Sept.7 indicates the "close defense ties" and "excellent working relations" shared between Singapore and Indonesia.

A commemorative stamp set featuring coral reefs from both the countries was introduced, forming a major step featuring the interdependency of both the countries. Coral reefs being one of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems bestows all marine species with food and shelter.

"The joint issue by SingPost and Pos Indonesia features coral reefs of both countries, as the myriad inter-dependencies within these delicate ecosystems reflect the many ways in which Singapore and Indonesia are working together," said the SingPost in a statement.

After the first collaboration in 2009 accentuating major tourist attractions of both the countries, this happens to be the second collaboration between the two postal operators.

The joint issue stamps are valued each at $1.30. Miniature Sheets with both stamps are sold at $2.75 each.

Singapore and Indonesia will witness a major cultural fest next year, as an ode to the old bond shared between the two nations. The event will display the cultural and artistic stance of both Indonesia and Singapore, further strengthening their bonds.

A Sunda oak tree, labeled as the "Rising Tree" was planted at the Singapore Botanical Gardens by both the leaders as a part of the celebration.

"Generations of leaders have taken a long-term and win-win approach to cooperate for mutual benefit and to solve problems amicably and rationally. As a result, today we have a strong partnership based on mutual trust and respect. We hope (this) will continue to strengthen and prosper for many more years"said Lee at the joint press conference.

Singapore and Indonesia's amicable association sends a promising message to the world, stabilizing the contemporary apprehension in international relations.