Following the meeting between Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah regarding the ongoing bilateral disputes, the Republic’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has proposed to extend the suspension of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at Seletar Airport in order to facilitate negotiations with Malaysia regarding the airspace issue.
After what Khaw dubbed as “a heart-to-heart discussion” with his Malaysian counterpart Anthony Loke in Singapore on Wednesday (23 Jan), he wrote in a Facebook post that he had “suggested that we extend the mutual suspension of Malaysia’s Restricted Area over Pasir Gudang and Singapore’s Instrument Landing System procedures at Seletar Airport, to give our officials more discussion time to reach a win-win outcome”.
Khaw added that Loke “will take my suggestion back to his Cabinet Colleagues”, and that he will have another meeting with the Malaysian Transport Minister “after the Lunar New Year, to continue the airspace discussion”.
Several Singaporean netizens were sceptical of the outcomes of the meeting, barring one commenter below:
Minister Loke similarly posted about the meeting with Khaw on Facebook, stating that he “had a fruitful and constructive meeting” with the Singaporean Transport Minister.
“We agreed on the way forward to solve the Seletar airport issue and the Civil Aviation Authority of both countries will continue the discussion on the technical aspects,” added Loke.
Several Malaysian netizens also appeared to be sceptical of the outcomes of the meeting, although there were commenters who lauded Loke’s attempt at working together with Khaw to resolve tensions regarding the airspace issue:
[Pang K Pin: They took Malaysia’s / Johor’s airspace. [Hence] Singapore should have initiated the meeting, not the other way around.]