The Ministry of Foreign Affairs for both Singapore and Malaysia have issued a joint press statement following their meeting today (Jan 8) in Singapore.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Singapore Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, including senior officials from both sides.
On M’sia’s permanent restricted airspace and S’pore’s implementation of ILS procedures at Seletar Airport
In what was billed as a “positive and constructive meeting”, both sides agreed to “immediately simultaneously suspend Malaysia’s permanent RA (restricted airspace) and Singapore’s implementation of the ILS procedures for Seletar Airport.”
Malaysia recently announced on Christmas Day last year the establishment of a ‘Permanent Restricted Airspace (RA)’ for the purpose of military activities over Pasir Gudang.
The suspension will be for a period of one month until further discussions.
On maritime dispute between S’pore and M’sia
In the same statement, Ministers from both sides have also agreed to “establish a working group headed by the Permanent Secretary of the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Chee Wee Kiong, and the Secretary-General of the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dato’ Sri Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob, and comprising relevant senior officials.”
The working group will seek to “study and discuss the legal and operational matters in order to de-escalate the situation on the ground, and provide a basis for further discussions and negotiations” surrounding the maritime dispute between Singapore and Malaysia.”
The working group is expected to report to the respective Foreign Ministers on their findings within two months.
“A very positive, constructive, and very necessary meeting”
Speaking at a joint press conference, Dr Balakrishnan said: “Brother Saifuddin from Malaysia and I, had a very positive, constructive, and very necessary meeting… I’m glad to be able to report that we’ve arrived at some agreements. And we’ve also, just as importantly, reaffirmed our commitment to strengthening the vital relationships between Malaysia and Singapore, and also to improve bilateral ties on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”
He reiterated that both countries “will always be close and permanent neighbours”. “That is a geographical fact. It is essential that we always have a constructive and cooperative bilateral relation,” he said.
Describing the meeting as “very cordial, very friendly”, Mr Saifuddin echoed Dr Balakrishnan’s sentiments on bilateral ties. “We have a long history of good relations. And there is only one way to go forward and that is to become stronger in our ties and improve our relations,” he said.
Here’s the full video of the joint press conference:
VIDEO: Joint Press Conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Singapore, H.E. Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Malaysia, Dato' Saifuddin Abdullah on the Meeting between Republic of Singapore and Malaysia on recent bilateral developments on the 8th January 2019 in Singapore.Video Credit: Bernama (Massita)
Posted by Saifuddin Abdullah on Monday, 7 January 2019
If you need a primer on what’s what, read further:
- The biggest loser from the SG-MY airspace dispute is M’sia’s Firefly airline
- Big brother M’sia wants their airspace back from Little brother S’pore – here’s everything you need to know
- S’pore once controlled the entirety of M’sia’s airspace but handed back authority to M’sia in 1973
- M’sia MOT tones down ‘sovereignty’ rhetoric, highlights technical reasons for ILS instead
- M’sia restricts use of airspace from Jan 2, a day before the launch of Seletar’s ILS
- Here’s the map of the ‘Permanent Restricted Airspace’ established by Malaysia