Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, today to attend the 5th Putrajaya Forum and the 16th Defence Services Asia Exhibition and Conference (DSA). Held biennially since 2010, the Putrajaya Forum brings together Defence Ministers, officials and academics to discuss defence and security issues, and is held in conjunction with the DSA. Topics discussed at the forum include regional security, terrorism, cybersecurity, and hybrid approaches to security.
Dr Ng spoke at the first plenary session at the Putrajaya Forum on the topic of "Regional Security Crescendos and its Implication on Stability", alongside three other speakers: Malaysian Minister of Defence Dato' Seri Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein, Indonesian Minister of Defence General (Rtd) Ryamizard Ryacudu and Philippine Undersecretary for Defense Policy Ricardo David Jr. In his speech, Dr Ng highlighted the need for continued security cooperation among ASEAN countries in order to ensure the region's stability and progress, in light of the increasing dangers and pitfalls that exist in Asia, such as terrorism and the instability on the Korean Peninsula. Emphasising the continued relevance of ASEAN in the region's security, he stressed that "ASEAN will have to step up to address the security challenges in our region, (because) it is to our intimate interest to do so". Dr Ng also added that "the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in particular is now the most important defence and security platform for this region and we must redouble efforts to build its resilience to enhance its relevance."
Underscoring Singapore's efforts to tackle the crescendo of regional security challenges, Dr Ng highlighted three focus areas as the 2018 ADMM Chair: to (i) enhance counter-terrorism cooperation through leveraging militaries' niche capabilities; (ii) strengthen regional capability against chemical, biological, and radiological threats; and (iii) establish practical confidence building measures and code for unplanned encounters at sea and in the air.
Earlier today, Dr Ng had a bilateral meeting with Dato' Seri Hishammuddin. Noting the good progress made in bilateral relations, the Ministers agreed to enhance the defence relationship through more military interactions at all levels. They also discussed regional security issues, and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen practical cooperation through multilateral fora such as the ADMM, ADMM-Plus and Shangri-La Dialogue to address regional threats.
Singapore participates actively in international security conferences, and our participation in the Putrajaya Forum underscores the warm and long-standing bilateral defence relations between Singapore and Malaysia.