SINGAPORE - NO reclamation is currently taking place on Malaysia's two controversial projects near Singapore, said Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli on Wednesday.
"Malaysia has stated that no reclamation works are currently being undertaken on these projects and that it remains committed to fulfilling its obligations under international law and will take all necessary measures to avoid any adverse transboundary impact," said Mr Masagos in Parliament.
He said Malaysia responded on June 30 to Singapore's request for information on both projects.
He confirmed that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke and wrote to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on the matter, and said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who co-chairs the Malaysia-Singapore joint ministerial committee for Iskandar Malaysia, also wrote to his Malaysian counterpart.
Mr Masagos was replying to questions on the projects from Mr Lim Wee Kiak (Nee Soon GRC) and Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC).
The first reclamation project, a man-made island with luxury homes dubbed Forest City, is located near the Second Link on the Malaysian side of the border and is being developed by China's Country Garden Holdings and a Johor state company, Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor. The second is a residential project by China developer Guangzhou R&F Properties named Princess Cove.
Malaysia has also given some preliminary general information on the projects and has promised to share all other information with Singapore, including the environmental impact assessments on the projects, once they are ready, he added.
Singapore had registered its concerns with Malaysia through a number of diplomatic channels and requested all relevant information on the works, including environmental impact study reports. Singapore also requested that Malaysia suspend reclamation works until it received and studied all the relevant information.
It is concerned that the reclamation projects "could affect the safety of navigation in the Straits of Johor as well as increased erosion to the seabed and foreshore defences that support the infrastructure of the Second Link and Singapore's shoreline," said Mr Masagos.
They could also result in changes in the morphology and water quality in the Johor Straits, which would directly affect Singapore's marine and coastal environment and fish farms nearby.
Countries are obligated under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and general international law not to cause harm or permit activities within their jurisdiction to cause transboundary harm to their neighbours, added Mr Masagos.
This includes Malaysia "not permitting reclamation activities of this scale and nature to take place so close to Singapore without first conducting an environmental impact assessment". If damage to the environment has been caused or is imminent, Malaysia has a duty to immediately notify Singapore, he said.
Furthermore, under a settlement agreement between Malaysia and Singapore following a 2005 reclamation case, both countries are obliged to monitor their respective environments in the Straits of Johor, share information and address any adverse impacts if necessary.