Vivian Balakrishnan restates Singapore's concerns over Johor Strait land reclamation projects during KL visit

Singapore on Tuesday restated its concerns to Malaysia over land reclamation projects in the Strait of Johor, given their close proximity to Singapore. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Singapore on Tuesday restated its concerns to Malaysia over land reclamation projects in the Strait of Johor, given their close proximity to Singapore. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore on Tuesday restated its concerns to Malaysia over land reclamation projects in the Strait of Johor , given their close proximity to Singapore.

It has also reiterated a request that works be suspended until Singapore received and studied all relevant information from Malaysia, including Environmental Impact Assessments, and has established there would be no transboundary impact on Singapore from the projects.

Singapore's position was stated by Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan during a visit to Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday for the annual exchange of visits between the Environment ministries of the two countries.

Malaysian news reports earlier this year said that a China property developer and a Johor government company were behind a reclamation project to create a 2,000ha island for luxury homes. A project map showed part of the man-made island under the Second Link, which connects Tuas in Singapore to Johor.

Singapore has previously expressed concern to Malaysia about the project and its possible impact on Singapore and the Strait.

A Environment and Water Resources Ministry statement on Tuesday on Dr Balakrishnan's visit said he stressed that both Singapore and Malaysia are obliged under international law - in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea - to undertake and share Environmental Impact Assessments on all works that could have transboundary impact, prior to the commencement of such works.

It added that "he noted that Singapore looked forward to Malaysia's expeditious reply to Singapore's requests on this issue".

At the Kuala Lumpur meeting on Tuesday, Dr Balakrishnan and Malaysian Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister James Dawos Mamit reviewed discussions and exchanges that were held on Monday by a meeting of the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Committee on the Environment.

Those issues included the control of vehicular emissions, joint monitoring of water quality in the Strait of Johor, the emergency response plans for chemical spills at the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link and at the East Johor Strait, as well as Malaysia's land reclamation projects in the Strait of Johor.