Khaw: Malaysia should “back off” and leave Singapore’s waters while it expands port limits

2007
Photo: YouTube screengrab

Following heightened tensions over claims of airspace intrusions by Putrajaya, and sea intrusions by Singapore, Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that the recent extension of the Johor Bahru port limits was a “blatant provocation and a serious violation of our sovereignty and international law”.

Dr Khaw also said to Putrajaya, “My main message today is… Back off. Leave our waters while we pursue sit-down dialogues and try to resolve it”.

He called for the two countries to engage in sit-down dialogues, instead of “blatant provocation”.

However, Mr Khaw also cautioned, against “aggressive actions” by the Malaysian vessels in its waters, saying that Singapore will not hesitate to act firmly to protect its territory and sovereignty, if necessary.

His remarks came after 14 incursions by Malaysian government vessels into Singapore’s waters.

He said, “Malaysian government vessels have since been continually intruding into Singapore territorial waters off Tuas”.

With regards to the expansion of Singapore’s port limits, the nation is well within its own territorial waters, he said.

Mr Khaw also reiterated, “But Singapore cannot allow our sovereignty to be violated, or new facts on the ground to be created”.

“Malaysia has never laid claim to these waters, or protested our actions there. Now, out of the blue, Malaysia is claiming these territorial waters that belong to Singapore”, he said.

“Therefore, if it becomes necessary, we will not hesitate to take firm actions against intrusions and unauthorised activities in our waters to protect our territory and sovereignty”, the Minister said.

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obbana@theindependent.sg