Parliament to hear ministerial statement on Singapore-Malaysia relations

Parliament to hear ministerial statement on Singapore-Malaysia relations

Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan
Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan delivering a statement on Jan 8, 2019. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan will make a ministerial statement on Singapore-Malaysia relations on Monday (Jan 14) when Parliament sits for the first time this year.

The two countries have been locked in a dispute over airspace and maritime territory. 

In a meeting earlier this week, Malaysia agreed to immediately suspend its permanent restricted area in the airspace over Pasir Gudang, while Singapore suspends its implementation of Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures for Seletar Airport. 

On the maritime front, however, as many as five Malaysian government vessels have been seen in Singapore territorial waters in the wake of the positive meeting between the two foreign ministers. 

READ: Singapore, Malaysia airspace dispute: What we know and timeline

READ: Singapore, Malaysia maritime dispute: A timeline

Nine Members of Parliament have tabled questions on the matter.

MP Cheng Li Hui submitted questions on what measures the Government can take if Malaysian vessels continue to intrude into Singapore waters, and what will be the way forward if the issue cannot be resolved bilaterally. 

MP Lee Bee Wah asked if Singapore will bring up the sea boundary issue to the United Nations for a permanent settlement. 

Others have asked for an update on the intrusions by Malaysian vessels into Singapore waters.

On the airspace issue, MP Pritam Singh submitted a question on whether there are contingency plans to address Malaysia's decision to impose a permanent restricted area for military operations over Pasir Gudang so as to ensure the safety of planes flying into and out of Seletar Airport.

READ: Singapore raises concerns with Malaysia over establishment of permanent restricted area over Pasir Gudang

READ: Malaysia, Singapore agree to suspend permanent restricted area over Pasir Gudang, ILS for Seletar Airport

Other issues on Parliament's agenda include the partly sterilised dental instruments at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, as well as questions about food hygiene following recent cases of mass food poisoning.

Questions have also been tabled about a High Court ruling last month allowing a gay Singaporean father to adopt his biological son who was born via a surrogate in the United States. 

READ: Court ruling on gay father's adoption appeal: MSF says to consider if policies need to be reviewed

Several Bills will be introduced, including the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) (Amendment) Bill.

Source: CNA/aa(gs)