Singapore and Malaysia have taken a major step forward in developing strong bilateral relations for the benefit of their people by committing to green and digital economies. On January 30, 2022, the two countries signed three agreements aimed at achieving these goals.
- Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
The first agreement was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Malaysia’s Ministry of Communications and Digital and Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information. This MOU will focus on cybersecurity and personal data protection, as both countries aim to foster seamless cross-border data flows while maintaining the privacy and security of the data. With advances in technology such as AI and blockchain, the MOU will help both countries combat the challenges posed by these developments in the field of cybersecurity.
- Framework of Cooperation on Green Economy
The second agreement was a Framework of Cooperation on Green Economy, signed between Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry and Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry. This is a pioneering move for Malaysia, as it is the first green economy they have engaged in. Both countries will work together to create sustainable business regulations, renewable technology standards, and electric vehicle charging points. They will also collaborate on research studies on hydrogen carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), which converts CO2 in power plants into sustainable construction products. Both countries have ambitious goals for sustainable economies by 2050, with Singapore aiming for net zero emissions and Malaysia targeting carbon neutrality and decarbonizing its energy.
- Framework of Cooperation on Digital Economy
The third agreement was a Framework of Cooperation on Digital Economy, which will make cross-border payments more accessible for communities, businesses, and individuals. This is already evident with the linking of the countries’ e-wallets, Singapore’s PayNow and Malaysia’s DuitNow, allowing for real-time fund transfers between the two countries using just a mobile number. They are also working towards the ASEAN Unique Business Identification (UBIN) to provide a smooth flow in digital transactions between the two countries.
These agreements will drive digitalization in both countries, as the rest of the world continues to maximize the use of the internet and digital in their transactions and operations. The completion of the Johor Bahru Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link, expected to be fully operational by 2026, will further strengthen the relationship between the two countries by making travel easier.
In conclusion, Singapore and Malaysia have taken a major step towards a strong and prosperous relationship. The signing of these three agreements will help drive digitalization, improve cross-border payments, and promote sustainable business practices. The two countries are poised to lead the way in the region and set an example for other nations to follow.