Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Singapore Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah and their respective delegations met on 8 January 2019 in Singapore to discuss recent developments on Malaysia’s establishment of a permanent Restricted Area (RA) over Pasir Gudang and Singapore’s implementation of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures for Seletar Airport. The Foreign Ministers also discussed maritime issues surrounding the Johor Bahru port limits and Singapore port limits.
The Foreign Ministers 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 Foreign Ministers agreed that both sides would immediately simultaneously suspend Malaysia’s permanent RA and Singapore’s implementation of the ILS procedures for Seletar Airport, for a period of one month in the first instance. They agreed that, in the meantime, the Transport Ministers from both countries should meet soon for discussions on the RA and the Seletar Airport ILS procedures to ensure the safety and efficiency of civil aviation.
On maritime issues surrounding the two port limits, both Ministers 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 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. The working group is to 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.