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Singapore to independently assess impact of Johor reclamation projects

Malaysia has also provided some general information on the Johor reclamation projects, said Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli. He says Singapore will take necessary steps to avoid adverse transboundary impact.

SINGAPORE: Malaysia has provided Singapore with some general information on the two reclamation projects along the Straits of Johor, said Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli in Parliament on Wednesday (July 9), and the Government will assess the information and conduct its own studies to see how the projects will impact Singapore. 

Singapore had raised concerns on the potential transboundary impact, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan highlighting the issue with their Malaysian counterparts.

The concerns come amidst reports that no environmental impact assessments were conducted. Mr Masagos said Singapore was not given prior information on these reclamation projects, and he highlighted some concerns.

The projects could increase the strength of the currents in the Straits of Johor, potentially affecting navigation safety. It could also result in the erosion of the seabed and foreshore defences that support the infrastructure of the Second Link between Singapore and Malaysia. It may also affect the water quality along the Straits, impacting the coastal and marine environment as well as the fish farms in the area.

Mr Masagos said Malaysia provided some preliminary information on the two projects on June 30. It also promised to share all other information, including environmental impact assessments, once internal processes are completed.

"Malaysia has stated that no reclamation works are currently being undertaken on these projects and that it remains committed at fulfilling its obligations under international law and will take all necessary matters to avoid any adverse transboundary impact," he said, adding that Singapore is seeking clarification on some of the information provided and waiting for more to come through.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak, MP for Nee Soon GRC, asked if there would be changes in the boundary lines of the two countries after reclamation is completed, and what the course of action would be if Malaysia decided to go ahead with the projects even if they had a potential environmental impact. 

Mr Masagos said it was premature to talk about any development at this stage. He said consultation and information exchange must be allowed to go forward before hypothesising, and that the boundary lines between the two countries do not change with any reclamation by either of the countries.

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