Talks on maritime border dispute early next month

By BERNAMA

A meeting will be held between the Foreign Ministry officials of Malaysia and Singapore next month to discuss the ongoing maritime boundary dispute, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (picture) said yesterday.

He said the essence of the meeting would be on the issue of Johor Baru’s port expansion and waters of the coastal area of Tuas, Singapore.

“This is the matter we want to resolve, and I’m confident the talks will go smoothly without undermining the relations between the two countries,” he said in response to a supplementary question from Senator Datuk Razali Idris who wanted to know the latest development in the dispute, during the oral question-and-answer session in the Dewan Negara.

Saifuddin said the two countries have previously engaged in talks on several issues and resolved them.

These issues include those on the high-speed rail and water agreement.

The latest, he said, issues involving air space and maritime boundaries have cropped up.

The air space issue relates to Malaysia objecting to Singapore’s use of the Instrument Landing System for the approach to the republic’s Seletar Airport because of encroachment into Malaysian air space. The airport is just 2km away from Pasir Gudang.

“On both these issues, officials from both sides met last week and it has helped to relieve tensions. The matters will be discussed further (by both sides) early next month,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby later, Saifuddin explained that he is in constant touch with his Singaporean counterpart  Dr Vivian Balakrishnan on issues involving the neighbours.

“So far, my relations with Foreign Minister Dr Vivian is very good. We have good WhatsApp exchanges. The
latest WhatsApp exchange was where we would be going for a holiday in conjunction with the New Year, this shows bilateral relations are good,” he said. — Bernama