ISKANDAR PUTERI: Malaysia should look at remapping the country’s maritime border between Johor and Singapore, in particular the Tebrau Straits here, says Kota Iskandar assemblyman Datuk Pandak Ahmad.
He called for the move following verbal disputes between local fishermen and Singapore Police Coast Guard (PCG) officers in October this year.
"The incident shouldn't have happened. Our fishermen were not intruders.
"But they were driven away. The actions of the Singapore PCG were inappropriate and the state government should take immediate action and send a protest letter to the country," he said, while debating the Johor budget 2023 at Bangunan Sultan Ismail here on Wednesday (Dec 7).
A group of 10 local fishermen claimed they were chased away by Singaporean authorities while setting up shrimp nets in the Pasir Laba area, near the Second Link Bridge, Iskandar Puteri at 5.30pm on Oct 23.
A video of the verbal altercation had gone viral and the fisherman had lodge a police report via their representatives on Oct 24.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi said the issue should be left to the authorities from both countries to resolve.
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) had refuted the allegations, saying it was wholly untrue as the incident had happened in the republic’s territorial waters off Lim Chu Kang.
In its statement, the SPF said that on Oct 23, at about 4pm, PCG officers were patrolling Singapore territorial waters when they spotted a group of Malaysian fishing vessels entering and exiting the live firing area off Lim Chu Kang.
As unauthorised vessels were prohibited from entering the live firing area, the PCG officers approached the Malaysian fishing vessels and used the public address system on the PCG boat to advise them to leave the area for their own safety.
The SPF said that at about 5.30pm, several Malaysian fishing vessels approached the PCG officers, and their crew expressed unhappiness at being asked to leave the area.
SPF said: "Our officers explained that unauthorised vessels were prohibited from entering the area, and asked them to leave for their own safety.
"After a verbal exchange, the Malaysian fishing vessels returned to Malaysian territorial waters at about 5.37pm. This exchange also took place entirely in Singapore territorial waters."