Indonesia's Parliament optimistic on Indonesia-Singapore sea border ratification

JAKARTA - Indonesia's House of Representatives is preparing to ratify a sea border agreement between Indonesia and Singapore on the eastern part of the Singapore Strait, The Jakarta Post reported, citing a lawmaker.

"We will continue with the ratification process of the Bill on the sea border with Singapore following one more hearing that will involve the government, namely the Foreign Ministry, the Law and Human Rights Ministry and the Transportation Ministry. The hearing is expected to take place within the next two weeks," National Mandate Party (PAN) politician Hanafi Rais told reporters after presiding over a hearing at House Commission I overseeing defence and foreign affairs on Tuesday (Sept 27).

The hearing will involve experts to discuss the sea border Bill.

Indonesia and Singapore in 2014 inked a landmark treaty demarcating the sea borders in the eastern part of the Strait of Singapore, in the area between Changi and Batam.

Covering a 9.45km stretch, the agreement would clearly indicate areas belonging to each respective country, helping the two countries to maintain sovereignty and enforce the law in their territorial waters.

Legislators at Commission I largely agree with experts who have stressed the importance on ratifying the agreement as a basis for law enforcement in each country's territory, Mr Hanafi added.

"Ratifying the agreement is an urgent matter. However, on the other hand, it needs to be remembered that dealing with Singapore can be tricky," Mr Hanafi said, referring to the recent controversy between the two countries related to Indonesia's Tax Amnesty Law.

Mr Hanafi expressed support for the immediate ratification of the sea border agreement with Singapore to enable the government to move on to the next matter, which is to ratify an agreement pertaining to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) with the Philippines.