KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Relations between Malaysia and Singapore have grown stronger over the 52 years following the republic’s independence on Aug 9, 1965, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Dr Salleh Said Keruak.

He said many factors contributed to the strengthening of the relations, including their shared history, being the closest neighbours and their joining ASEAN together on Aug 8, 1967.

Singapore is Malaysia’s second largest trading partner after China, with total trade amounting to RM190.6 billion in 2016 or 13 per cent of Malaysia’s total global trade that year, he said in a post on his blog,, in conjunction with the Singapore’s 52nd anniversary of independence today.

Singapore became independent in 1965 after leaving the Federation of Malaysia that was formed on Sept 16, 1963, grouping Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak.

Malaya became independent on Aug 31, 1957.

Salleh said Singapore was now the major investor in Bandar Iskandar Malaysia in Johor, with an investment of RM11 billion.

Not only that. Singapore and Malaysia have established cooperation in many other fields. For example, the two countries are working on the development of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail, and working closely in addressing militant and cross-border crimes, he said.

Salleh also said that there were times when the two countries faced problems which had to be addressed prudently to prevent them from remaining as conflicts.

For example, the cases of the water agreement, Malayan Railway, Central Provident Fund, dispute over Pulau Batu Putih and sea reclamation. All these cases have been resolved amicably, he said.

Salleh said he hoped that the policy on trade relations promoted by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak would further strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries.