On ninth leaders’ retreat on Tuesday, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that Malaysia is planning to take back the delegated airspace from Singapore in stages.
The process is expected to take about 4 years starting by the end of this year and be completed in the year 2023, said Dr. Mahathir in a joint press conference with Singapore’s Prime minister Lee Hsien Loong in Putrajaya.
During the press conference, he reinstated the fact about “long history of aviation cooperation.”
“We are members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and continue to work together on this international platform for mutual interest,” he said.
Dr. Mahathir stated about earlier this week, Singapore stopped function of its Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures for Seletar Airport whereas Malaysia indefinitely suspended its permanent restricted area over Pasir Gudang “in the spirit of bilateral cooperation”.
It is important to know that this procedure is being done with a view to safety and efficiency.
“Malaysia wants to discuss adjustments, and improvements to the arrangements and they want to take it back,” he stated.
“We will talk to them to see what adjustments are possible. It is not reasonable for us to say ‘we will not talk’, ‘we will not listen to your concerns’,” he further added.
“So I think the ministers on both sides understand the parameters and it has to be done with a view to safety and efficiency of civil aviation.”
At the press conference, Dr. Mahathir also touched on the Singapore-Malaysia maritime dispute.
“We have made progress by implementing the recommendations of the Singapore-Malaysia Working Group, which include the suspension of the implementation of the Johor Bahru port limits of Tanjung Piai and Singapore port limits of Tuas,” he said.
MALAYSIA – SINGAPORE BORDER CONGESTION
Dr. Mahathir said that traffic congestion at the Causeway and Second Link entry points remains a “major problem” for commuters.
“Currently about 250,000 to 300,000 are crossing the Causeway on a daily basis. Resolving congestion is a priority for Malaysia,” said the prime minister.
“Both sides are committed to addressing this issue and we continue to explore new initiatives to tackle this problem.
“This may include improvement in physical infrastructure, review of inter-boundary policies and regulations, and improvement in the quality of cross-border services and the (Johor Bahru Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex).”
At the conclusion of his statement, Dr. Mahathir said the two countries “will continue the momentum of positive engagement including through the important platform of the leaders’ retreat”.