Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan visited Johor, Malaysia, on Dec. 2, according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
MFA said that the visit was to reaffirm the longstanding and warm relations between Singapore and Johor.
Vivian also reaffirmed Singapore's continued support for Johor's efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
Singapore's contribution of 100,620 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was also delivered to the Johor state government on Dec. 2, through the Sultan of Johor's foundation, the Yayasan Sultan Ibrahim Johor.
Last visit to Johor was in June 2019
Before he travelled to Johor, Vivian posted a photo of the Causeway from Singapore on his Facebook on Dec. 2.He wrote that the last time he went to Johor was in June 2019 to attend the Hari Raya Open House of Johor's Sultan, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.
In the post, Vivian said that the pandemic has kept the two countries apart for a while, and he looks forward to re-connecting with "friends across the Causeway".
VTLs reflect good working relationship between Singapore and Malaysia
In Johor, Vivian had an audience with Sultan Ibrahim. He was hosted to lunch with the sultan as well.
During the meeting, Vivian conveyed an invitation from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Sultan Ibrahim to make an official visit to Singapore in the near future, MFA said.
In addition, Vivian called on the Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, and had a meeting with Johor's Chief Minister Hasni Mohammad.
According to MFA, they welcomed the implementation of the Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) on Nov. 29 for travel by air and and land across the Causeway.
"The VTLs are a reflection of the good working relationship between Singapore and Malaysia, including the Johor state government, and build on both sides' earlier efforts to facilitate cross-border travel during the pandemic in a safe manner," the statement added.
Johor establishing Economic, Tourism and Cultural Office in Singapore
MFA added that both leaders exchanged views on new areas of cooperation between both sides.
Vivian welcomed the establishment of the Johor Economic, Tourism and Cultural Office in Singapore in 2022, which will further strengthen Singapore's trade relations with Johor.
Both sides also discussed the possibility of institutionalising more exchanges between public service officials, including through professional exchanges and capacity building programmes.
What happens in Johor impacts Singapore & vice versa: Johor Sultan
On his Facebook page on Dec. 2, Sultan Ibrahim thanked Singapore for its assistance during difficult times."It's nice to meet Mr Balakrishnan after so long due to the pandemic. I'd like to thank Singapore for all they have done for us through these difficult times," he wrote.
"Whatever happens here, impacts Singapore, and vice versa. Hence, it is very important that our close ties are always fostered and preserved," he added.
The Crown Prince of Johor also took to Facebook on Dec. 2, and said that Vivian visited Johor Darul Ta'zim Football Club Headquarters.In the post, Tunku Ismail described Singapore's contribution of the Covid-19 vaccine to Johor as "part of the good relationship between Johor and Singapore".
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Top images via Ministry of Foreign Affairs