KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia will hold discussions with Singapore over the dispute involving Malaysian airspace in Johor's Pasir Gudang and the Republic's Seletar Airport, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday.
"The Cabinet has decided to have discussions with Singapore on the matter of the Seletar Airport," he told a news conference after a meeting of his ruling coalition, as quoted by Bernama news agency.
The foreign ministers of Singapore and Malaysia will meet in the Republic on Jan 8, said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday. The ministry added that there were also plans for the transport ministers of both countries to meet soon. The statement did not elaborate on what will be discussed.
Airspace - as well as port limits - has become a bilateral issue in recent months.
Malaysia has objected to new landing procedures at Seletar Airport scheduled to be enforced on Jan 3. It claims that the Instrument Landing System procedures will adversely affect developments in Johor's Pasir Gudang Port and wants to reclaim management of the airspace, where Singapore has been providing air traffic services since 1974.
Additionally, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia published a Notice to Airmen on Dec 25, informing the aviation community of Malaysia's establishment of a permanent restricted area for the purpose of military activities over Pasir Gudang from Jan 2.
On Oct 25, Kuala Lumpur also unilaterally extended the Johor Baru port limits such that they encroach on Singapore's territorial waters off Tuas. In response to the expanded Johor Baru port boundaries, Singapore extended its own port limits on Dec 6, a move that drew protests from Malaysia.