Work towards having collaborative tourism ventures with some of our ASEAN neighbours to boost the economy and further strengthen bi-lateral ties

I am full of admiration for Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, the ruler of Malaysia’s state of Johor whom I find is not only a dynamic and wise leader, but a man who knows the power of love having taking excellent care of his late son.

The Sultan is a humble leader who has broken tradition by interacting with his citizens through breakfast sessions and this has placed him in touch with the ground to understand the concerns of the ordinary man in the street. Having witnessed Singapore’s success stories that include religious harmony, the Sultan encourages his citizens to learn from Singapore and even participate in the Christmas celebrations of Christians.

Separately, under the leadership of Philippine President Benigno Aquino, tourist arrivals reached 5 million this year, and the Philippines leader is confident that the country with its new programmes in place can see 10 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2016. I have every confidence that with its beautiful beaches and colourful festivals that delight its people and the tourists; coupled with the crowning of Philippines’ Pia Wurtzbach as Miss Universe, this goal can be achieved.

To this end, the Singapore Tourism Board should have collaborations with both Johor and the Philippines that can boost the economies of the participating countries. Our immediate neighbour has the Visit Malaysia event that brings in the tourist dollar, so likewise Singapore and the Philippines could also have such programnmes in place.

Just as Singapore has invested in the Iskandar Project in Johor, our Lion City can also invest in the Philippines and built resorts and chalets to attract tourists from Singapore and other parts of the world that will make the country a paradise holiday destination.

I am pretty sure Johor and the Philippines would welcome Singapore as a partner as our Government has always stepped forward to help her neighbours during natural disasters or when they face a crisis.




Raymond Anthony Fernando is a motivational speaker, poet, author, trainer, songwriter, freelance television actor, ghostwriter, media celebrity, regular newspaper forum page writer and an advocate for the mentally ill.

He is a volunteer with the Institute of Mental Health. The author of 32 books was married to Doris Lau Siew Lang, herself an author of 8 books. Doris was called to the Lord in April 2014. This Model Caregiver 2007 and Mental Health Champion 2010, who is born on Valentine’s Day, has contributed 31 years of service to the public sector, 15 years of experience in public relations work, and received several awards and commendations from government organisations.

Raymond attributes his success to his beloved wife, Doris, who has always been his greatest inspiration.

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