JOHOR BAHRU, Jan 12 – A bilateral meeting between Singapore and Malaysia scheduled for Monday has been postponed after an alleged intrusion by Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian into Singapore territorial waters.
In a statement, Singapore’s foreign affairs ministry said the “intrusion” by Osman, who was on a visit to the border area made the 14th meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM) “untenable”.
This comes amid a maritime dispute between Malaysia and Singapore.
“Singapore therefore proposed to postpone the JMCIM meeting, and Malaysia agreed,” said a ministry spokesman.
Osman has refuted reports from Singapore media claiming he entered the island republic’s waters while visiting the maritime border area to see how the Malaysian security forces carried out their duties.
Singapore media had claimed that five Malaysian authority vessels were seen entering Singapore waters on Wednesday.
This came just one day after the two countries agreed to set up working groups to address maritime disputes and airspace issues.
Osman said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had stated there were Malaysian surveillance vessels in the area.
“So, I do not think I need to tell Singapore about the visit because we did not enter the country,” he was quoted as saying in a Bernama report.
The committee was set up in 2007 to study how both countries can work together in the South Johor economic zone of Iskandar.