Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan responded to a Facebook post from his Malaysian counterpart on Wednesday, December 12. Khaw said to some members of the media that the video that Anthony Loke posted “contains a few inaccuracies,” and that Malaysia seemed to employ a “technical excuse” in asking for Singapore’s airspace management to be altered. However, he also said he was confident that a solution would be found.
“The key point is if it were a technical concern, with goodwill, I am confident a mutually satisfactory technical solution can be found,” Khaw said.
The Malaysian Transport Minister’s Facebook post started this way, “Hi Singapore, “Seletar Airport is yours, but Pasir Gudang, Johor, Malaysia is ours.” Loke then went on to enumerate the reasons why Malaysia was opposed to the ILS of Seletar Airport, and why Malaysia was urging “Singapore to withdraw the ILS announcement and to amend the flight path as per our request.”
Loke claimed in the video he posted that the flight path used by the ILS at Seletar Airport would encroach into Malaysia’s airspace. His concern is that the ILS, which would take into effect by January 3, 2019, would fly over Pasir Gudang, a town in Johor Baru.
This would, he claimed, cause unnecessary height limits for buildings in the town, because of the safety height buffer of between 54 meters and 145 meters on the flight path. A large area would be affected, according to the video, “from Pasir Gudang,” “up north to Ayer Tawar (Johor)” and “almost to Kota Tinggi.”
Loke said on the video, “We can’t even build tall buildings in Pasir Gudang if we allow that flight path. Our position is very clear. We are not against Seletar, but as far as the descending flight path is concerned, it cannot be over Pasir Gudang.”
He ended the video by asking Singapore to change its flight path.
Khaw also told reporters Malaysia’s understanding of Singapore’s Instrument Landing System (ILS) also has inaccuracies and sought to explain exactly how an ILS works.
“ILS is like an auto-pilot in an aircraft, it’s a tool for the pilot. The pilot can always have a manual intervention if security concerns require it. So, auto-pilot doesn’t mean the pilot doesn’t have control. The pilot retains full control throughout the flight.”
Khaw expressed his astonishment at Malaysia’s request for Singapore to change its flight path, saying that it has worked very well for years. “So I’m truly baffled. I wonder why.”
“We have achieved so much together. And then now, out of the blue in October, suddenly they started a row in air, in water. What’s next? Land transport, too? I wonder why.”
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