Malaysia will continue to negotiate with Singapore on reopening of border, says foreign minister

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — The government will continue to negotiate with Singapore on the gradual reopening of the border which will depend on current health conditions, said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said this included talks on the proposed daily cross-border movement known as the Daily Commuting Arrangement (DCA).

Presently he said, Malaysia and Singapore would continue to implement stringent health regulations for cross-border movements as the spread of Covid-19 in both countries has yet to subside.

“I understand that recently our Health Minister (Khairy Jamaluddin) had a telephone discussion with his Singapore counterpart, Ong Ye Kung on the proposed reopening of the Malaysia-Singapore border.

“We pray and hope this will be resolved as soon as possible,” he said when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks on the royal address at the Dewan Rakyat sitting here today.

On the issue of aggression in the South China Sea, he said Malaysia would not compromise on matters that could affect national territorial integrity and sovereignty interests, including in the handling of complex South China Sea issues involving international relations.

He said the Malaysian government had consistently submitted Diplomatic Objection notices to governments whose foreign vessels were found encroaching onto the country’s waters and the action was taken in line with international laws and Malaysia’s stand to protect the sovereignty of its territorial waters,

“The move is also in line with Malaysia’s stance of not recognising claimant countries’ claim of the South China Sea when the areas involved overlapped with the country’s waters based on the 1979 New Malaysian Map,” he said.

In another development, Saifuddin said the selection of East Kalimantan as Indonesia’s new capital city to replace Jakarta could contribute to the local economy, especially Sabah and Sarawak, in terms of trade flows benefitting the tourism sector.

He said the relocation is also expected to open up abundant opportunities for Malaysian investors in East Kalimantan as Malaysian property developers would be participating in the capital city’s development projects.

Meanwhile, he said the government has agreed with Wisma Putra’s proposal for the Malaysian Parliament to set up a Special Select Committee for International Affairs. — Bernama