Anthony Loke. Source: The Star Online

Malaysia’s Transport Ministry “prepared to release letters” regarding ILS, says Minister Anthony Loke

Singapore’s Transport Ministry (MOT) has been criticised by its Malaysian counterpart for its allegedly “selective” disclosure of information regarding the Instrument Landing System (ILS) operated to and from Seletar Airport.

Consequently, Malaysia’s Transport Minister Anthony Loke has called upon Singapore’s MOT to release the letters from the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) which were sent on the following dates:

  • 9 Oct, 2018;
  • 15 Nov, 2018;
  • 21 Nov, 2018; and
  • 28 Nov, 2018.

Mr Loke added on Monday (10 Dec) that should Singapore’s MOT fail to do so, “we are prepared to release the letters for full disclosure of such information for the public’s comprehension of our stand on the same.”

Previously, Malaysian daily Malay Mail reported that the Malaysian government, in a bid to reclaim the nation’s airspace between next year and 2023, will be sending a protest note to the Republic over Singapore’s decision to operate its instrument landing system (ILS) for the Seletar Airport near the border with Johor despite Malaysia’s protests.

Mr Loke was reported as saying in the Malaysian Parliament on Monday (3 Dec) that Putrajaya has prohibited Singapore from broadcasting the new ILS at the end of last month to “protect the sovereignty of airspace and development around Pasir Gudang in Johor.”

He added that Singapore had already broadcasted the ILS on 1 Dec and has planned to fully implement the system early next month without seeking the agreement of the Malaysian government, adding that the implementation of the ILS without Malaysia’s permission violates the principle of national sovereignty as accorded under the Convention of Civil Aviation 1944.

On Tuesday, Mr Loke said that Kuala Lumpur did not agree to the new flight paths because “it will stunt development” around the Pasir Gudang industrial district.

The new flight paths will impose height restrictions on buildings in the area, and port activities will also be affected, Mr Loke added.

MOT: No response from CAAM after repeated reminders

“This contradicts the principle of national sovereignty provided for under the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The Foreign Ministry will issue a protest note to Singapore immediately concerning this breach of sovereignty,” Mr Loke said.

In a statement, Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said that under the current arrangements, Singapore is responsible for putting in place the flight procedures in the delegated airspace, which include those going into and out of all airports in Singapore.

In 1974, Singapore and Malaysia also inked a bilateral agreement on the arrangements that would ensure efficient air traffic flows into, out of, and overflying Singapore.

In response to Mr Loke’s statement, MOT said that the ILS procedures were shared with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) in December last year.

“However, despite repeated reminders, we received no substantive response from CAAM until late November 2018,” MOT added.

Speaking to media, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said he found it “kind of strange” that Malaysia had concerns over the ILS. “There have always been flights up north, so the procedures take into account existing entities in Pasir Gudang,” he said.

MOT also said that the new procedures “do not impose any additional impact on other airspace users as well as businesses and residents in Johor”.

The ministry said it has noted Malaysia’s intent to provide air traffic services in the airspace over Southern Johor.

“We need to work together to tackle our common challenges and find constructive ways to resolve our differences when interests diverge. With goodwill, a win-win outcome is possible,” the MOT said.