‘Old friends’ Anwar and Hsien Loong catch up in Putrajaya

Ben Tan
(From left) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching pose for a photo in Kuala Lumpur May 19, 2018. — Reuters pic

PETALING JAYA, May 19 — Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, who earlier met his Malaysian counterpart Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya today, also took some time to meet with his old friend Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar was accompanied to the meeting by his wife, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is the new deputy prime minister at the Marriott Putrajaya Hotel.

The informal meeting lasted for one hour and was also attended by Lee’s wife Ho Ching.

The 70-year-old PKR advisor described the meeting with Lee as “a meeting among old friends” as they knew each other when Anwar was deputy prime minister and finance minister in the previous administration.

“It was a real pleasure to be able to meet him again. Essentially, we believe in strong ties between both countries as stressed by the prime minister and are hoping it will go beyond that.

“Other than that, it was just a meeting between old friends who have not met for sometime,” said Anwar when met by reporters at the hotel’s lobby later.

Dr Wan Azizah also stressed on having good bilateral relationship, and described the meeting as good.

“We look forward to a stronger ties,” she said.

When asked if the issue of Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) — a joint development project initiated by the previous government — was discussed with Lee, Anwar said this would be further discussed at prime ministerial level.

“Details will be worked out,” he said.

Prior to the meeting with Anwar and Dr Wan Azizah, Lee met Dr Mahathir at the Perdana Leadership Foundation nearby in Putrajaya.

On Wednesday, Lee said in Singapore’s parliament that he knew Anwar well as they were both previously deputy prime ministers at the same time during the 1990s.

Anwar, who is designated to be the next prime minister, was given a full royal pardon on Wednesday after serving a jail term for sodomy on what he claimed to be politically motivated charges.