Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) and Indonesian President Joko Widodo (right).
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Joko Widodo have made it a priority to cooperate in numerous fields after reaching agreements on how to deal with old disputes.
Amidst the worldwide buzz around technology, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Joko Widodo have made it a priority for their countries to share tech know-how with each other with the newly founded Tech:X programme.
This followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding at the 6th Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat on 16 March, in Singapore.
Dedi Dinarto, the lead Indonesia analyst at public policy advisory firm Global Counsel, told DNA that the extended collaboration shows both nations’ willingness to go forward after reaching an agreement on how to handle their longstanding disputes over the airspace, defence cooperation, and extradition pact.
Last year, President Jokowi and PM Loong led the signing of expanded agreements. These addressed the three longstanding issues between Singapore and Indonesia. There was the Agreement on the Realignment of the Boundary between the Jakarta Flight Information Region, or FIR, and the Singapore FIR; Defence Cooperation Agreement; and Treaty for the Extradition of Fugitives.
Following the most recent meeting, the two countries have agreed to share tech know-how with each other with the newly founded Tech:X programme. Young tech professionals from the two countries will have the opportunity to go on work exchanges to gain experience from each other’s tech industries.
“Our tech cooperation will strengthen ASEAN collaboration in this emerging sector. This includes working towards a Digital Economy Framework Agreement under Indonesia’s ASEAN Chairmanship,” PM Loong said in a statement.
ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations and is a political and economic union of 10 member states in Southeast Asia.
The two countries also set their sights on sustainability, with another MoU being signed on renewable energy cooperation.
“On sustainability, there is much potential in the green economy sector,” PM Loong said, “[The MoU] will support commercial arrangements on the development of renewable energy capabilities, on transmission infrastructure and cross-border electricity trading.”
It will also aim to strengthen energy infrastructure and security in both Singapore and Indonesia.
“It is a win-win outcome,” PM Loong added.
Dinarto said: “There was nothing unexpected about the new areas of cooperation agreed upon by Indonesia and Singapore because businesses from both countries have already been collaborating in these sectors.
“The MoUs [are] merely an effort to formalise the initiatives led by businesses. Although the MoUs are not legally binding, they will continue to remind the leaders of both countries about key building blocks that will strengthen their bilateral partnership, particularly given that Indonesia will elect a new leader in February next year.”
Other MoUs inked at the retreat include: an MoU on sustainable urban and housing development; an MoU to improve cooperation on the development of ‘smart’ cities, with particular focus on Nusantara in Indonesia; an MoU on urban search & rescue; and an MoU focused on health cooperation which will promote the information, knowledge and data exchange.
“Our bilateral relations are in excellent order… We are ready to break new ground in fresh areas of cooperation that are deep, multifaceted, forward-looking, and mutually beneficial and will make a difference to future generations,” PM Loong said.
Written by: Greg Roxburgh.