President Joko Widodo received Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakhrisnan to discuss Leader’s Retreat Preparation which held this year.: Photo By Special

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia and Singapore to conclude their bilateral cooperation in the Leaders Retreat by the end of this year, said foreign minister after attended a bilateral meeting between President Joko Widodo and Singapore’ Foreign Minister Vivian Balakhrisnan at the Bogor Palace today (07/17).

The retreat is an annual meeting between the two heads of government and for this year Singapore become the host. According to Retno Marsudi, in the upcoming meeting, the two leaders will discuss various issues like Kendal Industrial Park in Central Java, Nongsa Park in Batam Island also how to connect Bintan and Karimun Island to Changi Airport in Singapore.

Beside economic issues, Indonesia also wants to take over Flight Information Region (FIR) from Singapore, said Marsudi. The negotiations between two countries had progressed but had not made an agreement.

So far, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has sent a letter to his partners in Singapore to further discuss regarding the FIR negotiations on June 15. Former Ambassador to Norway and Iceland added that Indonesia also had a same dialogue with Malaysia to takeover FIR from its country. Malaysia has stated no objections with Indonesia’ request.

Marsudi stated that the FIR negotiation correlated with territorial sovereignty and disputes around the neighboring country. Indonesia has capacity to regulate own flights security and to manage the flight traffic management.

The cooperation between Singapore and Indonesia is getting stronger. As an example, in 2018, Bank Indonesia and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have signed bilateral swap and repo agreements worth of US$10 billion in Nusa Dua, Bali. Both countries also signed three bilateral agreements and four memorandum of Understandings at the meeting.

Since last year, Singapore and Indonesia has preparing six investment partnership to improve the bilateral relationships between the two countries. During Widodo visit to Singapore in 2017, He and Lee has discussed potential investment, as well as issues of tourism, energy and digital economic relationship between the two countries.

To attract more investment, the Indonesian government has decided to extend Singaporeans a more updated tax incentive as a sweetener. The Double Tax Agreement or Tax Treaty currently in force has not been updated for the last 30 years.

Singapore had previously requested its Infrastructure Hub Team to finance infrastructure investment in Indonesia. The Hub Team, a unit that promises to position Singapore as a location to attract international banks and funding, will then be able to channel such funds into infrastructure projects.

Singapore become the major investors in Indonesia. In the first quarter of 2019, the country has invested US$1.7 billion, a top rank among other countries.

Written by Willy Matrona, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com