Stand our ground and stay united as one people: Khaw Boon Wan to Singaporeans
PUBLISHED ON 07 Dec 2018

Developments in the waters off Tuas Port have made bilateral relations with Malaysia more serious, with 14 Malaysian government vessels so far encroaching in Singapore's territorial waters.

And in view of the recent provocations, Singapore has extended its port limits off Tuas, as of 6 December 2018. 

At a media briefing on the same day, Minister for Transport and Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure Mr Khaw Boon Wan said that Singapore will not hesitate to take firm actions against intrusions and unauthorised activities in our waters.

"This violation of Singapore's sovereignty is a serious new issue in our bilateral relations with Malaysia," he further added. 

"Our position with Malaysia has always been clear and consistent: We uphold international law and respect bilateral agreements. We will protect and defend Singapore's territorial sovereignty,” said Mr Khaw, who also provided a timeline of key events leading to the latest development. 

The timeline:
1979 Malaysia had published a map depicting its claims on territorial waters, which Singapore protested as the boundaries violated Singapore's sovereignty. The boundaries were never accepted by Singapore.
1997 Singapore extended its port limits slightly west of Raffles Lighthouse for better regulation of shipping traffic in the area.
Until 2018, this was the last time Singapore amended its port limits.
1999 Malaysia published its amended Johor Bahru port limits, tracking the territorial sea limits claimed in the 1979 map. Singapore continues to exercise jurisdiction in the waters, without any protest from Malaysia.
October 2018 Malaysia published altered port limits again, without any consultation, clearly infringing into Singapore's territorial waters off Tuas.
The altered port limits extend significantly eastward beyond the territorial sea claim in the area made in Malaysia’s 1979 map.
In view of the recent provocations, Singapore, as of 6 December 2018, has extended its port limits off Tuas.

Mr Khaw also reiterated: "When our national interests are challenged, we have to quietly but firmly stand our ground and stay united as one people." 

Read the full statement from Minister Khaw here.

Image: Screengrab from CNA