PETALING JAYA: The government has proposed for both Malaysia and Singapore to stop sending assets into the disputed area in the Johor Straits.
In light of the disagreement between the two countries over the Declaration of Alteration of Port Limits for the Johor Bahru Port, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (pic) said both nations should stop doing so from midnight on Dec 8, pending discussions on outstanding maritime boundary issues.
"The action to desist would be undertaken without prejudice to either Malaysia or Singapore's position on maritime boundary claims over the area in question," he said.
Saifuddin said Malaysia proposed for a meeting aimed at the amicable resolution of maritime boundary issues between the two countries.
He said Malaysia had also communicated its protest to its neighbour over its decision to extend Singapore's port limits off Tuas on Dec 6.
Malaysia insisted the act encroaches into Malaysian waters as indicated in the Federal Government Gazette declaring alteration of port limits for Johor Bahru Port.
Saifuddin said this was therefore a clear violation of Malaysia's sovereignty and international law and called for Singapore to withdraw its decision.
In response, the Singapore ministry of foreign affairs said they did not agree to the proposal.
"Singapore has received Malaysia's diplomatic note of Dec 7, 2018 and will respond in due course.
"Singapore remains ready to discuss this issue with Malaysia in a constructive manner in the spirit of preserving our important bilateral relationship.
"However, Singapore does not agree with Malaysia's proposal for both countries to cease and desist from sending assets into the disputed area," read the statement issued late Friday (Dec 7), quoting a ministry spokesman.
The statement added that Singaporean minister for foreign affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan told Malaysia's Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah on Dec 5, 2018, of the claimed repeated intrusion in to Singapore's waters.
It called for Malaysian government vessels to cease what they claim are "provocative violations of Singapore sovereignty and return to the status quo ante before Oct 25, 2018, without prejudice to our respective positions on maritime boundary claims in the area."