The Straits Times says

Dangerous pushing of boundaries

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Singapore's insistence on its sovereignty and the remit of international law is a clear manifestation that size, sovereignty and respect for international boundaries and laws must not be taken for granted. These are important principles that have underpinned its independence for more than five decades. Malaysia must take these fundamentals into serious consideration and not underestimate Singapore's resolve to deal with and rebuff intrusions into its territorial waters by Malaysian government vessels. Those intrusions have disrupted the decades-long status quo which existed before Malaysia issued a sudden declaration that extends the Johor Baru Port limits into Singapore's territorial waters. The Republic responded by extending its own port limits, but only within its own area.

A concurrent issue contributing to a rise in temperatures is Malaysia's bid to reclaim its rights to run the airspace over southern Johor. This is a somewhat different matter. Management of the skies does not in any way question Malaysia's sovereignty over airspace. It simply reflects the reality that management was delegated to Singapore under a 1973 agreement with regional states, including Malaysia. Any attempt to conflate the distinct issues of sea and air does not, in any case, detract from the correctness of Singapore's stand on either dispute. One involves sovereignty; the other does not.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline Dangerous pushing of boundaries. Subscribe