Malaysia to keep vessels in disputed waters while talks ongoing with S'pore, says Dr M

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad giving the closing address at the Anti-Corruption Excellence Award at the Malaysian Institute of Integrity on Monday, Dec 10

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will keep its vessels in the disputed waters between the country's maritime border with Singapore while talks are ongoing, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 

The Prime Minister said that Malaysian vessels will be in the area until a decision has been reached. 

"At the moment, because there is no decision, the vessels are there.

"Singaporean vessels are there, our vessels are there," he said.

He added that the relationship between the two countries is "good".

"We will discuss with Singapore. We do not want to argue with Singapore.

"Sometimes, there are overlapping (boundary) claims and we can solve this with discussions," he said at a press conference after giving a closing address at the Anti-Corruption Excellence Award at the Malaysian Institute of Integrity here on Monday (Dec 10).

Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah had said that a meeting will be held with Singapore soon to resolve the maritime and airspace boundary disputes.

The issue started with the declaration by Malaysia, published in the Federal Gazette, of an alteration to the Johor Baru port limits on Oct 25.

Singapore protested the move, claiming it was done unilaterally.

Last Friday (Dec 7), Malaysia sent Singapore a diplomatic note, proposing both sides to “cease and desist” sending assets to the disputed area, pending discussions on outstanding maritime boundary issues.

Later that night, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected the proposal and called on Malaysian vessels to leave the area.

At the same time, Malaysia announced that it would not allow Singapore to implement the Instrument Landing System (ILS) and ILS Approach Procedures for Seletar Airport.

Malaysia also wanted to reclaim its airspace in phases, which is managed by Singapore since 1974 under the Operational Letter of Agreements between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore Area Control Centres Concerning Singapore Arrivals, Departures and Overflight (LOA 1974).


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