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PRESS RELEASE : STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MALAYSIA DATO’ SAIFUDDIN ABDULLAH MALAYSIA PROPOSES DE-ESCALATION OF TENSIONS

 

 

 

 

 

STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MALAYSIA

 

DATO’ SAIFUDDIN ABDULLAH

 

MALAYSIA PROPOSES DE-ESCALATION OF TENSIONS

 

Malaysia – Singapore ties are special and unique.  In his Facebook posting yesterday, YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad characterized the relationship as akin to twins, and “there would be differences and there will be competition between us. However, it will help us grow even faster”.

 

At certain times, the competition between Malaysia and Singapore will be intense.  But regardless of the level of intensity, Malaysia recognises that it is not helpful in the first instance to immediately characterize it in emotive terms, viewing it as challenges to sovereignty.

 

Of course, all governments are duty-bound to defend the nation’s sovereignty.  Equally, it is the responsibility of the people to unite behind the government should this occur.  Malaysia would do the same if the situation warrants it. However, not all disagreements should be seen in terms of challenges to a principle. Rather, all disagreements must be worked through in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation.

 

It is in this spirit and in light of the disagreements between Malaysia and Singapore on the Declaration of Alteration of Port Limits for Johore Bahru Port published on 25 October 2018 and the evolving situation on the ground, that Malaysia today proposed to Singapore, through the Singaporean High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur, for both countries to cease and desist from sending assets into the disputed area effective 0000 hours on 8 December 2018, pending discussions on outstanding maritime boundary issues. The action to desist would be undertaken without prejudice to either Malaysia or Singapore’s position on maritime boundary claims over the area in question.

 

Malaysia also forwarded the draft agenda for a meeting aimed at the amicable resolution of maritime boundary issues between the two countries which was conveyed by YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his official visit to Singapore on 12 and 13 November 2018.  It is the hope of the Malaysian government that the meeting could be convened sometime in the middle of this month.

 

The Government of Malaysia also today communicated to the Government of Singapore, through the Singaporean High Commissioner to Malaysia, its protest to the decision of the Government of Singapore issuance of Port Marine Circular No. 9 of 2018 dated 6 December 2018 by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore which purports to extend Singapore’s port limits off Tuas. The Government of Malaysia highlighted the fact that this new and purported unilateral port limit extension by Singapore encroaches into Malaysia’s territorial waters and the established Johore Bahru port limits as indicated in the Federal Government Gazette P.U. (B) 587 “Declaration of Alteration of Port Limits for Johore Bahru Port” published on 25 October 2018 by the Attorney-General’s Chambers of Malaysia. This is a clear violation of Malaysia’s sovereignty and international law. The Government of Malaysia therefore called upon the Government of Singapore to withdraw its Port Marine Circular No. 9.

 

 

Putrajaya, 7 December 2018