TANAH RATA (Bernama): Malaysia and Singapore mutually agreed to postpone the 14th Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM) meeting scheduled to take place on Monday (Jan 14), says Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (PIC).
The Economic Affairs Minister, who was supposed to lead the Malaysian delegation to the meeting, said this was because certain issues to be discussed in the meeting were closely related to matters raised in a bilateral meeting between Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and his Singaporean counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan last Tuesday (Jan 8).
Azmin will be holding meetings with Dr Balakrishnan and Singapore's National Development Minister Lawrence Wong on Sunday (Jan 13) and Monday (Jan 14) to further discuss certain issues before they are brought to the next JMCIM meeting.
"Since the meeting (between the two foreign ministers) has just taken place and both countries have issued a positive joint statement, I do not want to interfere with the process by having the JMCIM meeting now. It's a good idea to defer it," he told Bernama when met at SMK Sultan Ahmad Shah, the nomination centre for the Cameron Highlands by-elections here, on Saturday (Jan 12).
It was reported that the JMCIM meeting was in limbo after a Malaysian Marine Department vessel with Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian on board sailed near disputed waters between both countries on Wednesday (Jan 9).
It reported that Singapore had responded by sending several vessels to the area off the Tanjung Pelepas Port and expressed dissatisfaction over the incident.
Following the incident, the Singapore Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement saying that the intrusion into Singapore Territorial Waters off Tuas has made the JMCIM meeting "untenable", and proposed to postpone it, to which Malaysia agreed.
When asked if the incident had affected the relationship between the two countries, Azmin replied with a firm no.
"The foreign ministries of both countries have taken an open approach to ensure that all issues pertaining to the maritime border are resolved in good faith," he said. – Bernama