Singapore halts Seletar’s ILS for one month after bilateral meet

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (left) shakes hands with his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan before a bilateral meeting in Singapore January 8, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (left) shakes hands with his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan before a bilateral meeting in Singapore January 8, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Singapore has agreed to suspend usage of the instrument landing system (ILS) for its Seletar Airport that affects the airspace over southern Johor, following a bilateral meeting with Malaysia in the island republic today.

In return, Malaysia will also suspend the restricted area (RA) over the airspace, which was declared in protest of the ILS implementation.

“The foreign ministers agreed that both sides would immediately suspend Malaysia’s permanent RA and Singapore’s implementation of the ILS procedures for Seletar Airport, for a period of one month in the first instance.

“They agreed that, in the meantime, the Transport Ministers from both countries should meet soon for discussions on the RA and the Seletar Airport ILS procedures to ensure the safety and efficiency of civil aviation,” said a joint press statement.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and his Singapore counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan met earlier in the Lion City.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia published a Notice To Airmen on December 25, last year, informing the aviation community of its establishment of a permanent restricted area for the purpose of military activities over Pasir Gudang with effect from January 2, 2019.

Despite that, the tussle over maritime borders was left unresolved, with both sides agreeing to establish a working group jointly headed by Wisma Putra Secretary-General Datuk Seri Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob and the Permanent Secretary of Singapore’s Foreign Ministry Chee Wee Kiong.

“The working group will study and discuss the legal and operational matters in order to de-escalate the situation on the ground, and provide a basis for further discussions and negotiations.

“The working group is to report to the Foreign Ministers within two months,” said the statement.

Both ministers said they had a positive and constructive meeting, and were also pleased with the progress made at the meeting.

The two ministers are also expected to discuss the review of water prices under the 1962 Water Agreement, but there was no mention of the matter in the statement.

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