Singapore and Malaysia take immediate suspension steps over Seletar Airport and Pasir Gudang

Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan (left) and Malaysia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Saifuddin Abdullah (right) PHOTO: Reuters/Getty Images)

Malaysia will immediately suspend its permanent restricted area over Pasir Gudang for one month while Singapore will immediately suspend the implementation of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures for Seletar Airport, the two countries’ Foreign Ministers said in a joint statement on Tuesday (8 January).

Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah and their respective delegations met in Singapore on Tuesday to discuss the aviation issues and also the maritime issues surrounding the Johor Bahru port limits and Singapore port limits.

Both Foreign Ministers said they had a “positive and constructive meeting”.

“Both sides reiterated their commitment to preserving the vital relationship between both countries and to improving bilateral ties, on the basis of equality and mutual respect. They agreed on the importance of keeping the situation on the ground calm to allow discussions to take place in a conducive atmosphere,” the joint statement said.

On the maritime issues, both Ministers agreed to establish a working group headed by the Permanent Secretary of the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chee Wee Kiong, and the Secretary-General of the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob, and comprising senior officials.

The working group will study and discuss the legal and operational matters in order to de-escalate the situation on the ground, and report to the Foreign Ministers within two months.

“Both Foreign Ministers were pleased with the progress made at the meeting, and welcomed the positive steps that both sides had agreed on to move these matters forward in a calm and constructive manner,” the statement said.

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