POST TIME: 13 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
PM seeks S’pore help in solving Rohingya crisis

PM seeks S’pore help in solving Rohingya crisis

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina calls on Singapore Prime minister Lee Hsien Loong at Istana, the Singapore President House yesterday. The prime minister is on a four-day visit in the country. Focus Bangla Photo

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged Singapore to request Myanmar for resolving the Rohingya crisis quickly as it is a big problem and burden for Bangladesh, reports UNB. Meanwhile, Bangladesh and Singapore signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for collaboration over Public Private Partnership (PPP) and air services at the same day. The prime minister made the call during her meeting with President of Singapore Halimah Yacob and the official meeting with her Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong at Istana.

Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque briefed reporters after the meetings. "The Prime Minister said it's a big problem for us. It's a burden which needs to be resolved," he said.

Since Singapore and Myanmar are the chair and member of Asean respectively, Sheikh Hasina told them that Singapore can pursue the Myanmar government that the stability and development of that region depend on the repatriation of Rohingyas.

Noting that Bangladesh has already signed a bilateral agreement over the repatriation of Rohingyas, Hasina said the implementation of agreement is being delayed for many reasons.

"The Prime Minister told Singapore to request Myanmar in this regard and the Singaporean side responded very sympathetically," Shahidul said.

Hasina said Bangladesh continues to shelter more than one million Rohingyas. Of them, some seven lakh Rohingyas have recently taken shelter in Bangladesh fleeing persecution in Rakhine state in Myanmar.

The Singaporean President highly praised Hasina for her leadership role, particularly in women emancipation and gender issue.

The Foreign Secretary said it has become clear through the discussion between the Prime Minister and the Singaporean President that the main basis of Singapore-Bangladesh relation is economic collaboration --trade, business and investment.

Three issues -- Rohingya, Business sector including seaport, and easy movement seafarer in Singapore- got priority in the discussions at the two meetings, Shahidul said.

At both the two meetings, Hasina said seafarers are now facing problem for movement in Singapore and urged the Singapore government to solve it.

In response, both the Singaporean President and its Prime Minister agreed that they will consider it.

Hasina showed Bangladesh's interest in getting Singaporean investment in food processing and fish processing, energy and energy-related sectors.

When she requested Singapore to invest in special economic zones in Bangladesh, her Singaporean counterpart Hsien Loong showed keen interest in this regard.

Noting that Bangladesh is keen to develop deep seaport and make it operational, the Prime Minister sought Singapore's assistance in this regard.

Bangladesh also sought Singapore's support in favour of Bangladesh's initiative to be 'Sectoral Dialogue Partner' of Asean. But Singapore said there is embargo now over it and they will extend the support when the embargo goes.

About bilateral trade, Bangladesh said there is a trade imbalance against Bangladesh, and the business community of Singapore should invest heavily in Bangladesh to address it. Besides, discussions were held for enhancing air connectivity between the two countries.

Hasina invited both the Singaporean President and the Prime Minister to visit Bangladesh this year and both of them accepted the invitations.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh and Singapore signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for collaboration over Public Private Partnership (PPP) and air services.

The instruments were signed following an official meeting between prime ministers of the two countries at Istana, the official residence and office of the President of Singapore, and also the working office of the Prime Minister of Singapore.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien witnessed the signing ceremony.

The two deals are -- MoU on Public Private Partnership signed between International Enterprise Singapore and the Public Private Partnership Authority of the Prime Minister's Office of Bangladesh and Confidential Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to expand the air services.

Secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism SM Ghulam Farooque and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Transport Loh Ngai Seng signed the MoU on cooperation in the areas of air services.

CEO of Private Public Partnership Authority (PPPA) Syed Afsor H Uddin and Assistant CEO of International Enterprise of Singapore Tan Soon Kim singed another MoU between International Enterprise and PPPA on cooperation on Public Private Partnership.