Singapore, Malaysia foreign ministers meeting here today

A Singapore Police Coast Guard vessel (centre) passes a Malaysian government vessel (left) in the waters between Singapore and Malaysian on Dec 6, 2018. PHOTO: ST FILE

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan will meet his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah in Singapore today to discuss recent bilateral disputes.

Malaysia unilaterally extended the Johor Baru port limits on Oct 25, encroaching into the Republic's territorial waters off Tuas. Singapore on Dec 6 extended its own port limits in response, to cover the full extent of the Republic's territorial waters.

Malaysia also objected to new landing procedures for Seletar Airport, saying they would adversely affect developments in Pasir Gudang. It later established a permanent restricted area for the purpose of military activities over Pasir Gudang.

Today's meeting comes after Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat met Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya on Dec 31.

In his New Year's message, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said issues with Malaysia will be dealt with "calmly and constructively".

Tun Dr Mahathir has also said he is confident the problems can be resolved through negotiation.


Singapore is a peaceful place. But we live in a very complicated world. South-east Asia is quite a complicated place to be living in.

We are friends with our neighbours but we also, from time to time, have issues with our neighbours, problems come up. We need to know how to deal with our neighbours from one country to another country, from one people to another people, to maintain good relations with them, to cooperate with them but at the same time to look after our interests and stand up for Singapore.

We hope, as you study in school, as you grow up, as the boys go on to do national service, and the girls go out and work, you read the newspapers and watch the television and you see what is happening around us.

You would understand and you would learn that this is the world where we would have to stand up for ourselves, look after ourselves, and look after ourselves together as one people so that, small as we are, this little red dot can thrive and can prosper.

- Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in remarks at a bursary presentation ceremony in his Teck Ghee ward on Sunday.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2019, with the headline Singapore, Malaysia foreign ministers meeting here today. Subscribe