​Singapore-Malaysia relations stable: MFA

08 May 2019 1 min read

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Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said that the relations between Singapore and Malaysia are more stable, but ‘there is still much work to be done.’

Giving an update on the bilateral relations between the two countries, Dr Balakrishnan reiterated that Singapore is ready and willing to co-operate with Malaysia in a spirit of goodwill and neighbourliness.

On the issue of water, both countries are having discussions on the differing positions and also the legal right to review the price of water under the 1962 Water Agreement, said Dr Balakrishnan.

Expressing concerns over the water pollution issues affecting the Johor River, Dr Balakrishnan said, “These issues, if not addressed, will compromise Singapore’s right to extract our full 250 million gallons a day entitlement of water under the 1962 Water Agreement,”.

Dr Balakrishnan also touched on Malaysia’s intention to review the current air traffic arrangement.  “Discussions on the review of the 1974 operational letter of agreement will involve consultations with many regional and global stakeholders. This will take time, it cannot be rushed,” he said. Meanwhile, both countries are in discussion to implement the GPS-based instrument approach procedures for Seletar Airport, added Minister.

Dr Balakrishnan pointed out that negotiations on port limits will begin soon with a committee that will be co-chaired by the Permanent Secretary of Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Secretary-General of the Malaysian Foreign Affairs Ministry. Both Singapore and Malaysia have suspended their overlapping port limits and reverted to the port limits placed before 6 December and 25 October 2018, respectively.

Though issues will crop up from time to time, he emphasised that it is important to keep the channels of communication open for discussion in a calm and constructive way. He added, “We honour our international agreements fully and we find amicable win-win solutions in accordance with international law.”