In response to criticism by its Malaysian counterpart for its allegedly "selective" disclosure of information regarding the Instrument Landing System (ILS) operated to and from Seletar Airport, Singapore's Ministry of Transport (MOT), explained that it had released correspondence between Singapore and Malaysia authorities on 4 December 2018 to address media queries as to whether Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) had consulted Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) in December 2017.
The media queries arose from Malaysia’s inaccurate claim earlier in the day that the matter about ILS, had only come to their attention two months ago (October 2018), said MOT in a press statement on 10 Dec.
The correspondence released by Singapore authorities on 4 Dec, showed a page of the minutes of the meeting of the 277th Standing Committee to the Aviation Consultative Committee Meeting between Malaysia and Singapore held in Dec 2017, with broad timelines for the implementation of ILS procedures, and two emails from CAAS requesting CAAM’s operational feedback on the ILS procedures for Seletar Airport.
MOT noted, "However, despite repeated reminders, we received no substantive response from CAAM until late November 2018,"
Malaysia's Transport Minister ask MOT to release of letters, MOT says no objection but ensure all correspondence be published
On 10 Dec, Malaysia's Transport Minister Anthony Loke called upon MOT to release the letters from CAAM to the CAAS, sent in Oct and Nov 2018 after Malaysia alleged that MOT engaged in "selective" disclosure of the correspondence.
He added 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."
Responding to Mr Loke's request, MOT wrote in its press statement:
Singapore’s view is that it would be useful for negotiations to be kept confidential to facilitate frank and constructive exchanges. This is why we have not released any other correspondence between Singapore and Malaysia on this matter. The Malaysia Minister for Transport, Anthony Loke, had expressed a similar view on 4 December 2018.
Nonetheless, we have no objection if Malaysia feels the need to release correspondence on this matter. However, we observe that the Malaysia Ministry of Transport has only mentioned its letters from October and November 2018. For transparency, Malaysia should ensure that all correspondence and records of discussions between Singapore and Malaysia be published, including the record of discussion of the latest meeting between the two countries on 29-30 November 2018.
Malaysia disagree to new flight paths
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 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 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.
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.