Singaporean President Halimah Yacob has voiced her desire for youths in Singapore and Indonesia to strengthen people-to-people ties, especially by maintaining good relations and joining hands to overcome global issues together.
“We are in a time of global challenges, such as economic uncertainty, climate change, health and threats of terrorism,” Halimah said during a visit to Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta on Thursday.
Halimah said she believed Indonesia had maintained good diplomatic ties with Singapore but hoped for the two Southeast Asian countries to expand collaboration in other areas.
“In the digital revolution, there are many areas in which we could collaborate, such as e-commerce and artificial intelligence,” she said.
UGM rector Panut Mulyono concurred with Halimah, saying that youths in Singapore and Indonesia needed to learn from one another.
“Indonesia is a big market for Singapore and natural laboratories. The younger generation in Singapore cannot afford to ignore Indonesia,” she said during a dialogue session themed “Singapore and Indonesia: Strengthening Bridges and Progressing Together” at UGM.
“Students in Singapore and Indonesia need to be aware that we have promising developments in our region that require their attention,” he added.
Aside from discussing collaboration prospects, Halimah also shared insight on corruption eradication and maintaining harmony between people from diverse cultural backgrounds in her country.
Halimah said a cultural approach was needed to eradicate corruption.
“We need to take this as an important lesson since Indonesia tends to prioritize legal approaches rather than cultural ones when it comes to this matter,” said UGM’s vice rector for cooperation and alumni, Paripurna P. Sugarda, who moderated the dialogue session.
Thursday marked Halimah's second visit to UGM following her visit to the university on November 2012.
The Singaporean president visited Yogyakarta after meeting with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo earlier on Tuesday, during the occasion of which the two engaged in bilateral talks at Bogor Palace in West Java.
Halimah arrived in Yogyakarta on Wednesday and was welcomed by Yogyakarta Governor Hamengkubuwono. (dpk)