M’sian Transport Minister Anthony Loke, “We stand by our position”

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Photo: Facebook screengrab Anthony Loke Siew Fook

Malaysia’s Transport Minister Anthony Loke has reiterated the country’s stand concerning territorial disputes between Malaysia and Singapore regarding airspace and port limits at Johor Baru, saying, “It is important that we have made our position very clear. We stand by our position.”

While attending the launching the International Forum on New Inclusive Asia today, December 6, members of the media asked Loke a question concerning what the Transport Ministry would do next, in the light of tensions having flared up between the two countries.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent two protest notes on Wednesday, December 5, and according to Loke, it would continue to engage with the government of Singapore concerning the disputes.

Read related: Vivian Balakrishnan calls Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs about “urgent need” to stop intrusions into Singapore’s waters

While Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dr. Tun Mahathir Mohammed claimed that the port expansion in Johor Baru did not encroach on Singapore’s borders, a spokesman for Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said,

“Malaysian PM Mahathir claimed that the recent purported extension of the Johor Baru port limits has not ‘touched’ Singapore’s border. Singapore reiterates that Singapore’s territorial waters do extend westward of our current port limits around Tuas.

Accordingly, the purported extension of the Johor Baru port limits encroaches into Singapore’s territorial waters in the area and is a serious violation of Singapore’s sovereignty and international law.”

Loke called Singapore’s claims inaccurate since according to basic law, Singapore’s land reclamation of doesn’t expand its baselines. He further said that international law dictates that Singapore’s sea territories stay the same despite expansion due to reclamation.

“As such, the altered port limits of Johor Bahru Port are in Malaysia’s territorial sea and it is well within Malaysia’s right to draw any port limit in our territorial sea in accordance with our own national laws,” Loke said on Wednesday, December 5.

However, the Transport Minister also said that Singapore and Malaysia would be able to settle the matter amicably.