Malaysiakini Letter

How will Singapore discuss “in good faith”?

TK Chua

Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | As a Malaysian and as a layperson, sometimes I just don’t understand what the Ministry of Singapore is saying.

Singapore wants to operate the Seletar airport very close to the border with southern Johore. It needs both the “northernly” and “southernly” approaches to land at the airport. But I believe over time, the airport may grow busier and bigger. So the implications may be more daunting and protracted than we envisage now.

This is where I don’t really quite understand - if Singapore wants to use Malaysia’s airspace, do they just announce it and programme it into their Instrument Landing System (ILS) and voila, they can start using it? Or do they need to consult and seek consent from Malaysia?

According to a video as shown by Anthony Loke, our transport minister, the flight path into Seletar airport will potentially affect the whole of Pasir Gudang and southern Johore.

Why would Malaysia subject itself to these restrictions just simply because Singapore needs a flight path to its airport situated so closely to the border? The airpace belongs to Malaysia does it not?

I have one more question - if Malaysia had delegated the whole southern Johore airpace since 1974 to Singapore for air traffic control purposes, does this mean Singapore can do whatever it wants?

As far as I know, the airspace in southern Johore up to the border with Singapore belongs to Malaysia. Malaysia shall decide whether or not it wants to take control of the airspace so that no future surprises may be sprung.

I think we should all get our bearings right; does Malaysia need a “technical excuse” to take control of the airspace that was delegated to Singapore in 1974? The words in inverted commas are words I read in the news reports as said by the Singapore transport minister.

If Singapore wishes to discuss issues with Malaysia “in good faith”, it must recognise whose territory and whose property we are talking about here. Don’t be condescending and don’t always think Malaysia is made up of fools.

As for the maritime dispute, it is better that we look at the issue properly and objectively. If certain stretches of the border have not been settled yet, it is better not to claim it as yours.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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