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. â€śCertainty on Batamâ€™s status will motivate Singaporean businesspeople to increase investment there,â€ť he said.
Lee is aware that certainty on Batamâ€™s status depends on the countryâ€™s policies and political environment, â€śbut it is best that the two countries discuss this matter immediately so as to obtain certainty, by which both countries can benefit by it,â€ť he added.
According to Lee, many countries in Southeast Asia and Asia have attracted foreign investors, including Singapore. â€śWe also collaborate with Vietnam, Thailand, China, and India,â€ť 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. â€śIndonesia is ASEANâ€™s backbone. Without Indonesia, there is no ASEAN,â€ť Lee said.
He said that the definite status of Batam, Bintan, and Karimun could strengthen future economic relations. â€śInvesting in Batam will definitely require great deal of capital. Our businessmen want to be sure about investing there,â€ť 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.
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