Marine Dept postpones media trip due to maritime border dispute

Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah was reported as saying yesterday that a meeting with Singapore will take place soon to resolve the maritime and airspace boundary disputes. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah was reported as saying yesterday that a meeting with Singapore will take place soon to resolve the maritime and airspace boundary disputes. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

JOHOR BARU, Dec 11 — A scheduled briefing for the press at sea tomorrow by the Marine Department has been postponed, due to the ongoing maritime row between Malaysia and Singapore.

It was learnt that the four-hour trip in Malaysian waters bordering Singapore was organised to brief participants on the agency’s role in maritime border control operations, port limits and also the international boundary.

The postponement was announced through a statement from the Johor Mentri Besar’s press secretary.

“The decision was made after further discussions with the stakeholders and taking into account the current diplomatic situation between the two countries at present,” it read.

It was learnt that the postponement was made on the advice of Marine Department director-general Baharin Abd Hamid, who was also scheduled to attend the trip.

This was also based on the Foreign Ministry’s advice to take all measures to de-escalate the situation with Singapore, following a dispute over maritime boundaries.

Yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah was reported as saying that a meeting with Singapore will take place soon to resolve the maritime and airspace boundary disputes.

The maritime boundary dispute is said to have started when Malaysia declared on October 25 a change to the limits of the Johor Baru Port, with Singapore claiming that Malaysian vessels subsequently encroached into Singapore’s territorial waters off Tuas.

Singapore claimed that the alteration of the port limits was done unilaterally.

Last Friday, Malaysia sent Singapore a diplomatic note, proposing that both sides “cease and desist” sending assets to the disputed area, pending discussions on outstanding maritime boundary issues.

Later on the same day, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected the proposal and called on Malaysian vessels to leave the area.

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