S’pore tells M’sia to stop “escalating tensions on the ground”; M’sia respond

MFA Singapore calls MFA Malaysia. “Bro, don’t like that leh bro.”

Singapore’s Foreign Affairs (MFA) Minister Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan stressed the need for Malaysia to “cease instrusions into Singapore’s Territorial waters so as to comply with international law and to avoid escalating tensions on the ground”.

The official media statement by MFA was released Wednesday (Dec 5) after Dr Balakrishnan called his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah,

On the same day, MFA Malaysia released their own statement which we have included their key points here.


In case you need context, read the following primers. Two key issues:

1. Malaysia wants to reclaim control of it’s airspace in Pasir Gudang that is currently administered by Singapore

2. Malaysia’s government vessels allegedly intruded into Singapore territorial waters off Tuas


On the issue of Malaysia’s repeated intrusions into Singapore waters:

  • The new Johor Bahru Port Limits (JPL) now extends beyond Malaysia’s sea claim in their own 1979 map
  • Continued intrusions on Singapore waters by Malaysian Government vessels ‘provocative’ despite diplomatic protests
  • Urgent need for Malaysia cease instrusions as per compliance with international law and to escalating tensions on the ground

On the issue of Pasir Gudang’s airspace that Singapore administrates:

  • Singapore respects Malaysia’s sovereignty
  • Safety of civil aviation in the disputed airspace cannot be compromised
  • If Malaysia wants to take back the airspace, they have to ensure it remains in accordance with ICAO (United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards, processes, and procedures

Dr Balakrishnan added that Singapore and Malaysia should “discuss these issues constructively and emphasised the important of maintaining a good bilateral relationship between close neighbours and complience with international law.”


On the issue of Pasir Gudang’s airspace that Singapore administrates:

  • Singapore’s new Instrument Landing System (ILS) installed at Seletar Airport 2KM away from Pasir Gudang was done without the agreement of the Government of Malaysia.
  • The ILS a violation of Malaysia’s sovereignty
  • Malaysia calls for the immediate withdrawal of the publication of ILS and ILS Approach Procedures for Seletar Airport by the Government of Singapore.

On the issue of Malaysia’s repeated intrusions into Singapore waters:

  • Malaysia rejects Singapore’s claim that their vessels intruded Singapore territorial waters
  • The new Johor Bahru Port Limits are within Malaysia’s territorial sea, thus it is their right to draw any port limits within their area

The statement also said that the Malaysian government is confident that “both countries acknowledge and value the good and strong bilateral relations” and proposed convening a meeting between both Foreign Ministries “to discuss maritime boundary issues”.

“This spirit of dialogue will also inform contacts between the Ministers of Transport to resolve the ILS and delegated airspace issues.”

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