Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad along with Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali meeting with The Rupublic of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (fourth, right) and Mrs Lee (third, right), Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (fourth, left) and wife Paduka Seri Baginda Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha (third, left), and Indonesian President Joko Widodo (second, right) and wife Iriana Joko Widodo (right) at the National Gallery Singapore today for the Bicentennial National Day Parade.-Bernama

SINGAPORE: Singapore greatly appreciated the presence of Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali at this year’s Bicentennial National Day Parade on Friday evening, despite their hectic schedule.

Former Prime Minister of Singapore Goh Chok Tong and Singapore Prime Minister’s wife Ho Ching were among those who took on social media to express their delight and appreciation.

“They honour Singapore with their presence at our 54th National Day. It underlines the strong, historical and inseparable ties between two neighbours. May our ties grow even stronger,” Goh posted on his Facebook page today.

In his posting, he also attached two photos of him and the Malaysian premier at the parade, as both were set to be seated side by side.

Dr Mahathir was in Fukuoka, Japan, for two days from Wednesday (Aug 7). He reached home Thursday evening and on Friday had had a meeting with visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Putrajaya.

Joko, who is popularly known as Jokowi, and his wife, Iriana Joko Widodo, flew in Thursday (Aug 8) for a two-day visit to Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir had also taken Jokowi in a Proton Persona car, which he drove himself, to a luncheon he hosted at Seri Perdana, the prime minister’s official residence.

After performing Friday prayers at the Putra Mosque, both of them left for Singapore for the parade.

“Mahathir is an amazing man. He flew to Japan to receive an honorary degree, stayed overnight, flew back to Kuala Lumpur to receive President Jokowi, then flew to Singapore and came directly from the airport to the Padang.

“His wife Siti Hasmah is amazing too. Not a minute of rest. And looking fresh. Amazing couple,” Goh wrote further.

Meanwhile, Ho Ching took on her Facebook as well to express her appreciation.

“Greatly appreciate Tun Siti Hasmah and Tun Dr M for coming to join us for our NDP cum Bicentennial celebration,” she said in her posting which was accompanied by a photo of her, her husband Lee Hsien Loong and the 94-year old couple.

In the same posting, Ho Ching also appended Bernama’s story on the arrival of Dr Mahathir and his wife to the republic.

“They have had a tough schedule - one day in Hiroshima for the commemorative event on the atom bombing, got delayed by the typhoon, rushed back to KL to host Pak President Jokowi and Ibu Iriana for a one morning state visit, sending them off for their visit to SG, before hopping on a plane themselves to come just in time for the start of the ceremonial parade,” she wrote.

At a reception right before the parade, Prime Minister Lee expressed appreciation to the visiting leaders for their attendance to Singapore’s National Day celebrations and reaffirmed the deep historical ties and friendship that Singapore has with Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The parade, which was held at the Padang, was also attended by the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

Singapore is celebrating its National Day on Aug 9 and this year’ celebration is special because it marks the nation’s bicentennial milestone, 200 years since Sir Stamford Raffles came to Singapore.

One interesting fact observed was that the parade commands were in the Malay language. - Bernama