No Malaysian government vessels anchored in area previously covered by overlapping port limits: MFA

The waters off Tuas, as seen from Singapore in December 2018. MFA said it will continue to exercise sovereignty and take appropriate enforcement actions in Singapore's territorial waters.
The waters off Tuas, as seen from Singapore in December 2018. MFA said it will continue to exercise sovereignty and take appropriate enforcement actions in Singapore's territorial waters.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - There were no Malaysian government vessels anchored in the area previously covered by overlapping port limits as of midnight, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Tuesday (April 9).

"We will continue to exercise sovereignty and take appropriate enforcement actions in the area," added an MFA spokesman, in response to media queries.

The MFA's statement comes a day after Malaysia and Singapore mutually suspended the implementation of their overlapping port limits, reverting to what was in place before Oct 25 and Dec 6, 2018, respectively.

This move came into effect at 12.01am on Monday.

In a statement on Monday, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said: "This suspension is pursuant to one of the five recommendations in the report of the working group on maritime issues surrounding the overlapping Johor Baru Port limits off Tanjung Piai and Singapore port limits off Tuas."

Malaysian vessels have been spotted in Singapore's territorial waters in recent months and, on April 1, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan had told Parliament that two Malaysian government vessels were still anchored in Singapore waters off Tuas.

Last month, Dr Balakrishnan and his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah agreed to de-escalate the situation on the ground and pave the way for maritime boundary delimitation.

 
 

Singapore and Malaysia also agreed to suspend and not to authorise all commercial activities in the area, as well as not to anchor any government vessels there.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is set to meet his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad at Malaysia's administrative capital Putrajaya on Tuesday to discuss, among other issues, the maritime dispute.

The meeting is part of a leaders' retreat between the two countries that had been postponed since November last year.