Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has urged Singaporeans to stay united in light of recent Malaysian intrusions into Singapore territorial waters, stressing that this is an issue of national interest.
"When our national interests are challenged, we have to quietly but firmly stand our ground and stay united as one people," he told the media yesterday (6 Dec).
Khaw was referring to the recent intrusions by Malaysian government vessels into Singapore territorial waters off Tuas.
"This violation of Singapore's sovereignty is a serious new issue in our bilateral relations with Malaysia," he said. "We will protect and defend Singapore's territorial sovereignty."
"Singapore will not hesitate to take firm actions against intrusions and unauthorised activities in our waters," he added.
Khaw also said that he was also "very saddened" by these developments.
"While we seek cooperation and friendship with other countries, we must never let other countries take advantage of us," he said.
Khaw born in Penang
Khaw was actually born in Penang. He attended and graduated from Chung Ling High School and Anglo Chinese School in Penang.
In 1973 at the age of 21, he was awarded a Colombo Plan Scholarship from Singapore. He then went to study in Australia. Upon graduation in 1977, he began his career in Singapore's public service working at the Health Ministry.
In 1992, then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong appointed him as his Principal Private Secretary. After serving 3 years with Goh, he joined Ministry of Trade and Industry in 1995 and served as Permanent Secretary until 2001. Thereafter he joined People's Action Party and went into politics.
He got into Parliament in 2001 contesting together with Lee Kuan Yew in Tanjong Pagar GRC through a "walkover".