Loke: We affirm position over Johor’s port limits and airspace with Singapore

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia stands by its position in the recent disagreement with Singapore over airspace and Johor Baru port limits, says Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

“It is important that we have made our position very clear. We stand by our position.”

Loke was responding to a question on what will be the next course of action by the Transport Ministry, in view of the disagreement between Malaysia and Singapore on both issues.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had sent two protest notes yesterday (Dec 5) and he will let them continue the engagement with the Singapore government, he told reporters after launching the International Forum on New Inclusive Asia today (Dec 6).

Earlier on Thursday, a spokesman for Singapore’s Ministry of Transport reportedly said, “Malaysian PM Mahathir claimed that the recent purported extension of the Johor Baru port limits has not ‘touched’ Singapore’s border.

“Singapore reiterates that Singapore’s territorial waters do extend westward of our current port limits around Tuas.”

“Accordingly, the purported extension of the Johor Baru port limits encroaches into Singapore’s territorial waters in the area and is a serious violation of Singapore’s sovereignty and international law,” the spokesman claimed.

However, Loke had explained on Wednesday (Dec 5) that Singapore’s claims were “inaccurate”.

This is because it is basic law that Singapore’s extensive land reclamation does not extend a state’s baselines (to draw boundaries).

Loke said that in accordance with international law, the territorial sea of Singapore remains unchanged even when reclamation has been carried out almost to the outer limits of its territorial seas.

“As such, the altered port limits of Johor Bahru Port are in Malaysia’s territorial sea and it is well within Malaysia’s right to draw any port limit in our territorial sea in accordance with our own national laws,” added Loke on Wednesday.

He added that Malaysia will engage with Singapore for an amicable resolution on this matter.

On Tuesday (Dec 4), Loke told Parliament that Malaysia intends to take back control of its airspace over southern Johor, which had been delegated to Singapore in the past. This will happen at the beginning of 2019.

He also said Malaysia will not allow the usage of the airspace above Pasir Gudang for aircraft approaching Singapore’s Seletar Airport, which had been designated for turboprop planes.

“We can discuss with CAAS (Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore) on counter-proposals and measures to overcome this. But using Pasir Gudang airspace is something we will not agree on,” he said.

Malaysia had protested the new Instrument Landing System (ILS) proposed for Seletar Airport, as its flight path would affect height restrictions on development in Pasir Gudang.


Source: The Star