M’sia on same page as S’pore over postponement of JMCIM meeting: Azmin

12 Jan 2019 / 16:45 H.

TANAH RATA: Malaysia is on the same page as Singapore over the postponement of the 14th Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM) meeting scheduled to take place on Monday.

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (pix), who was supposed to lead a Malaysian delegation to the meeting, said this was because of certain issues from the meeting which were closely related to matters raised in a bilateral meeting between Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Singaporean counterpart, Vivian Balakrishnan, last Tuesday (Jan 8).

Azmin will be holding meetings with Balakrishnan and the republic’s National Development Minister Lawrence Wong Sunday tomorrow and Monday to further discuss the matters raised before they are brought to the next JMCIM meeting.

“Since the meeting (between the two foreign ministers) has just taken place and both countries have issued a positive joint statement, I do not want to interfere with the process by having the JMCIM meeting now.

“So it’s a good idea to defer it,“ he told Bernama when met at SMK Sultan Ahmad Shah, the nomination centre for the Cameron Highlands by-elections here, today.

However, it has been reported by a news portal that the JMCIM meeting is in limbo now after a Malaysian Marine Department vessel with Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian onboard sailed near the disputed waters between both countries on Wednesday.

It was reported that Singapore had responded to the incident by sending several vessels to the area off the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, and expressed its dissatisfaction over the incident.

Following the incident, Singapore Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement today saying that the intrusion into Singapore Territorial Waters off Tuas has made the 14th JMCIM meeting on Monday untenable, thus proposing to postpone the JMCIM meeting to which Malaysia has agreed.

When asked whether the intrusion allegation had affected the relationship between the two countries, Mohamed Azmin replied with a firm no.

“The Foreign Ministries of both countries have taken an open approach to ensure that all issues pertaining to the maritime border are resolved in good faith,“ he said. — Bernama

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