Pedra Branca won’t define ties with Malaysia, says S’pore minister

Reuters pic.

SINGAPORE: Singapore will not let the Pedra Branca issue define or derail its relations with Malaysia, says Singapore’s Minister For Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan.

“In fact, the most important point is this – that when we have a difference, we seek peaceful resolutions according to international law,” he said in his speech during the Committee of Supply Debate at the Singapore Parliament yesterday.

The speech was made available on the ministry’s website.

The minister reminded the republic’s members of parliament that Malaysia would soon hold its general election.

“Again, we know from past history that every time the election rhetoric heats up, sometimes Singapore becomes part of the political fodder.

“Now, on our part, we must ensure that we do not get drawn into their domestic politics, nor will we allow the import of foreign countries’ politics into Singapore,” he said.

With Malaysia, Balakrishnan said both countries had continued to set new milestones recently.

He noted that at the 8th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat in January, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak officiated the opening of the Marina One and DUO joint venture developments, which had a combined Gross Development Value of S$11 billion (RM31 billion).

“Members will remember that these projects came about as sequelae to the settlement of the Points of Agreement on the Malayan Railways (KTM) land,” he said.

He highlighted that both countries also signed the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link Bilateral Agreement.

The RTS Link, upon completion in 2024, would dramatically change the way hundreds of thousands of travellers shuttled between Johor Bahru and Singapore daily, said Balakrishnan.

“Then, we also have the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail, which is progressing well.

“The tender for the Assets Company was called last December; it will close in June. The results of the tender will be announced in about a year’s time, and will be conducted in a fair, open and transparent manner,” said the minister.