No new date for bilateral Iskandar meet, Azmin says

Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan shared this photo of himself taking a stroll along the Singapore River with Malaysian Minister of Economic Affairs Datuk Seri Azmin Ali yesterday. — Picture via Facebook/Vivian.Balakrishnan
Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan shared this photo of himself taking a stroll along the Singapore River with Malaysian Minister of Economic Affairs Datuk Seri Azmin Ali yesterday. — Picture via Facebook/Vivian.Balakrishnan

SINGAPORE, Jan 14 — Malaysia and Singapore have not discussed a new date for the annual meeting of Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM) which was supposed to take place in the island republic today.

“The meeting could be held soon and within early years too,” said Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali who had been in the island republic since yesterday, despite the annual meeting was called off. 

“It also depends of the result of the discussion, which I will present to Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and the cabinet,” he told Bernama before returning to Malaysia today.

Johor’s Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian visit to Marine Department’s vessel, MV Pedoman recently had caused Singapore’s displeasure which had abruptly cancelled the JMCIM meeting.  

Mohamed Azmin said, he continued his bilateral visit to the republic to prove that both countries are ready to sit down to talk and find solutions to their dispute.  

“Let us not stray from the bigger objective of our countries, just because of one statement. We can handle it with discussion between two sides,” he said. 

Mohamed Azmin described his meetings with three Singaporean ministers as “positive and productive.”

Yesterday he met the republic’s Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, followed by a meeting with State Development Minister Lawrence Wong and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan. 

Mohamed Azmin and Wong were supposed to jointly chaired the Iskandar Malaysia meeting. 

Asked whether his visit to Singapore was able to de-escalate the tension between two neighbouring countries, Mohamed Azmin responded, “This is the responsibility of the Pakatan Harapan government, where we want to build good bilateral relations with all countries especially within Asean and Singapore.”  

“The issues could be settled if we could defend the spirit of mutual respect and mutual trust.The federal government want to see bilateral relations between Malaysia and Singapore continuously strengthen,” he said.

The island republic and Malaysia are in a process of settling their maritime dispute in Tuas and issues regarding airspace usage over Pasir Gudang. 

Earlier in an update in his Facebook page, Mohamed Azmin wrote: “The fruitful outcome of HSR (High Speed Rail) negotiations a few months ago has laid foundation for a positive working relationship to resolve issues." 

Commenting on Putrajaya’s ability to settle the S$15 million abortive cost to its Singaporean counterpart by Jan 31 for delaying the HSR project, the minister said, “Yes, we can afford to pay.” — Bernama

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