Singapore will be one of the first countries Anwar Ibrahim visits when he becomes the new Malaysian prime minister – here’s why

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim met Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong over the weekend.
Facebook/Lee Hsien Loong

Anwar Ibrahim said that Singapore will be one of the first countries he visits when he becomes Prime Minister. The Malaysian politician, who is the de facto leader of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, made the statement on Saturday (Sept 15) while speaking to hundreds of business professionals and thought leaders at the Singapore Summit 2018.

The reason? The two countries need to forge strong bonds. When asked about bilateral relations between the neighbouring countries, he drew laughter from the audience with his tongue-in-cheek response, “Singapore-Malaysia relations … ada problem ke (is there a problem)?”

On a more serious note, he added, “If and when I assume the premiership, then I will make sure that one of the first countries I visit will be Singapore.”

Anwar was released from prison earlier this year after being pardoned by Malaysia’s King. His freedom came shortly after PH’s shock victory during Malaysia’s general elections in May. The country’s current prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has repeatedly said he will hand over power to Anwar and the latter is set to make his return to parliament when he contests in a by-election in Port Dickson soon.

Anwar also visited paid a visit to Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong over the weekend – their first meeting since May.