Mon, 26 Jun 2000

Megawati arrives in Singapore for a three-day working visit

SINGAPORE (JP): Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri arrived in Singapore on Sunday for a three-day working visit.

During her stay in the island state the Vice President is scheduled to meet Singapore President S.R. Nathan, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, among other people.

On Tuesday Megawati will speak before the Asia-Pacific Cooperative Forum regional conference.

She is being accompanied by State Minister for Cooperatives, Small and Medium Enterprises Zarkasih Nur.

Also in her delegation is Laksamana Sukardi, who was recently dismissed by President Abdurrahman Wahid from his post as state minister of investment and state enterprises Development.

It is unclear in what capacity Laksamana is taking part in the visit. However, he was a senior figure in the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, which Megawati chairs.

Also in the entourage is the foreign ministry's Director General for Foreign Economic Relations Djohan Effendy, who has been tipped as a possible replacement for current Ambassador to Singapore Lt. Gen. (ret) Luhut Pandjaitan, who was recently appointed minister of industry and trade.

This is Megawati's second visit to Singapore since she was elected vice president. As was the case on her previous visit, she is expected to take the time for a health check-up.

Apart from being one of Indonesia's closest neighbor, Indonesia has increasingly looked to Singapore for greater economic cooperation in the last eight months.

In January Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong proposed an investment package worth some US$740 million designed to help kick-start Singaporean investment in Indonesia. (prb)