Tue, 12 Aug 2008
Monday, 11 August, 2008 | 18:15 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Lee said Singapore and Indonesia have collaborated well in Batam, Bintan and Karimun, islands grouped under the Riau Archipelago. “Certainty on Batam’s status will motivate Singaporean businesspeople to increase investment there,” he said.


Lee is aware that certainty on Batam’s status depends on the country’s policies and political environment, “but it is best that the two countries discuss this matter immediately so as to obtain certainty, by which both countries can benefit by it,” he added.


According to Lee, many countries in Southeast Asia and Asia have attracted foreign investors, including Singapore. “We also collaborate with Vietnam, Thailand, China, and India,” he said.


When asked by Tempo on economic and educational collaboration with Indonesia, Lee acknowledged that Indonesia is a vital region for a bilateral relationship. “Indonesia is ASEAN’s backbone. Without Indonesia, there is no ASEAN,” Lee said.


He said that the definite status of Batam, Bintan, and Karimun could strengthen future economic relations. “Investing in Batam will definitely require great deal of capital. Our businessmen want to be sure about investing there,” he stressed.


Prime Minister Lee also said that he had previously discussed this issue with Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu at a meeting in Tokyo. "She promised to resolve this matter," he said, quoting the Indonesian Trade Minister.

Hermien Y Kleden



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