Singapore: MB’s visit near Johor port limits ‘provocative’, but Azmin still welcome

Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said today it still welcomes Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to his bilateral meetings in the republic, despite a controversial move by Johor mentri besar Datuk Osman Sapian. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said today it still welcomes Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to his bilateral meetings in the republic, despite a controversial move by Johor mentri besar Datuk Osman Sapian. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said today it still welcomes Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to his bilateral meetings in the republic, despite a controversial move by Johor mentri besar Datuk Osman Sapian.

The city-state has labelled Osman’s move to visit Malaysian Marine Department vessel MV Pedoman in Johor Baru’s new port limits as a “provocative act”.

“Such a provocative act went against the spirit of the agreement reached a day earlier by Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and his Malaysian counterpart, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, to resolve bilateral issues in a calm and constructive manner,” it said in a statement here.

It said it has sent a diplomatic note to Malaysia on January 11 to protest the visit.

“Nevertheless, Singapore welcomes Malaysia’s Minister of Economic Affairs Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali’s initiative to make a bilateral visit and his upcoming meetings with our Ministers on January 13 to 14, 2019,” it added.

Singapore has postponed a meeting by the Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM), which had been scheduled for tomorrow, accusing Osman of allegedly intruding into Singapore’s territorial waters.

Osman had visited MV Pedoman which was anchored within Johor Baru’s new port limits, but Singapore is disputing the limits claimed and has since expanded its own port limits to overlap Johor Baru’s.

Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry said earlier today Azmin will still meet his counterpart Lawrence Wong, who is Singapore’s National Development Minister, and Singapore’s Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan to discuss other bilateral issues.

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