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S'pore: We haven’t heard from M'sia on STS hub

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The Singapore government has said it has not been informed by Malaysia about the development of a ship-to-ship (STS) transfer hub project in the Johor Straits.

In a statement today, the Singapore Foreign Affairs Ministry said that the city-state had not "received any communication or information from Malaysia" on the project. 

“We are seeking more information from Malaysia on the project, including its precise location, as well as any potential implications this project has on Malaysia’s bilateral and international obligations, including on safety of navigation in the area and its potential transboundary environmental impact.

“Singapore has requested such information from Malaysia in order to assess its implications for Singapore,” the ministry said.

Singapore's statement comes after Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed on Tuesday that the project is “public knowledge”, and that the city-state had been informed of the project and had received reassurance that it would not encroach upon their waters.

The STS project inked on Tuesday is billed as the largest in the world. KA Petra Sdn Bhd holds a 70 percent stake in the project that is said to cost between US$150 million and US$180 million (RM612 million and RM735 million), while Hutchison Port Holdings Ltd holds the remaining 30 percent.

It would span 3,000 acres (1,214.1 hectares) in the Johor Straits.

The project has become a point of contention between Johor and the federal government.

Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim had accused Putrajaya of failing to inform the Johor government about the project. He claimed the deal had been conducted in a secretive manner.

Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian had also pleaded ignorance about the project, and the crown prince said his father was also in the dark.

State exco member Jimmy Puah had asserted that the project still falls within the jurisdiction of the Johor government, despite KA Petra chairperson Shahrul Amirul claiming that it lies beyond Johor-controlled waters.

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