LEE, MAHATHIR AGREE TO RESOLVE AIR, MARITIME DISPUTES

Written by Chu Yao Quan

No more fighting, ok?

Singapore and Malaysia have been embroiled in disputes regarding the use of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at Seletar Airport, as well as Malaysia’s unilateral claims of port limits sovereign to Singapore. Nonetheless, both sides have agreed to resolve the air and maritime disputes, prior to the 9th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat in Putrajaya from the 8 to 9 Apr.

 

Air our grievances

On 6 Apr, Singapore and Malaysia reached an agreement to settle the bilateral air disputes  regarding the ILS system at Seletar Airport. The agreement will see Singapore withdrawing the ILS procedures for Seletar Airport, while Malaysia will indefinitely suspend its permanent Restricted Area (RA) over Pasir Gudang. Airlines like Firefly Sdn Bhd will thus be allowed to resume flight operations starting from the week of 22 Apr.

The ILS uses ground instruments to help air-traffic controllers guide pilots during landing. However, without the ILS in place, pilots will need to rely on their vision to land the plane. As such during poor weather, at night, or in poor visibility conditions, planes are restricted from landing at Seletar Airport. To circumvent this problem, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia will work together to develop GPS-based instrument approach procedures for Seletar Airport in place of the ILS. Singapore’s Transport Minister Mr Khaw Boon Wan says the new GPS instrument will enhance the safety for flights using Seletar Airport.

 

Seaing the good ol’ port limits again

On 8 Apr, Singapore and Malaysia mutually suspended the implementation of their overlapping port limits, going back to the port limits that were in place prior to 25 Oct, and 6 Dec, 2018. In addition, both sides agreed to suspend all commercial activities and prevent anchoring of any government vessels in the area.

 

Lee and Mahathir to meet

When both Singapore’s PM Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysia’s PM Mahathir Mohamad meet in Putrajaya, deconflicting other disputes will be on their agenda, like the “ridiculous” price of water sold to Singapore, and the suspension of the cross-border rail link.

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