04/03/2006 - MFA Spokesman's Comments: Reactions of Malaysian Leaders on Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo's Remarks in Parliament on 2 March 2006 on the Half-Bridge
In response to media queries on the above, the MFA Spokesman said:
"Minister Yeo had not taken any new position on this issue when he responded to questions from Members of Parliament. Appended below is the transcript of Minister's Yeo's remarks:
'Our relations with Malaysia are good. They rest on a bedrock of common history and common interests. You only have to see the way that the two police forces have cooperated on the Tan Chor Jin case recently. Within a few hours, they were on his trail and now he is being extradited back to Singapore. So, there are many things going on, which can only go on because there are very good relations between counterpart departments on both sides. In January this year, the Agong made a state visit to Singapore - the first such visit after 18 years. Bilateral trade and investments also picked up considerably on both sides of the Causeway. Yes, negotiations on the full bridge are still ongoing. The fourth round of negotiation has just ended on Monday. A fifth round of talks is tentatively scheduled for this month. These negotiations have made progress towards an appropriate balance of benefits for both sides. However, as negotiations are now in a delicate stage, it would not be useful for me to publicise the details. As for the low-hanging fruits mentioned by Dr Ong Chit Chung, some are on our tree and some are on their's. We have to decide what is the correct balance of fruits to be plucked, otherwise no fruit can be plucked at all. As to earlier reports about moves to build a half-bridge on the Malaysia side, Wisma Putra has clarified to us in a TPN that Malaysia remains committed to negotiations for a full bridge and only soil studies are being conducted. We have explained to Malaysia the serious implications of a unilateral move by Malaysia to demolish its side of the causeway and replace it by a crooked bridge, however scenic.
On Pedra Branca, a question asked by Mr Leong Horn Kee, the case before the ICJ is expected to be heard in 2007. Both sides have already put in their written submissions. As for security in Johore, a question raised by Mr Leong Horn Kee, I should just say that Johore leaders themselves are aware of this problem and have said publicly that they are giving it their full attention.'
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
4 MARCH 2006