Putrajaya insists ship collision happened in Malaysian waters

PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya has again denied repeated claims by Singapore that Malaysian vessel Polaris, which was involved in a collision off the Johor Bahru Port, was anchored in Singapore territorial waters, as the months-old maritime tension between the two neighbours continues.

Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah today said Malaysian buoy-laying vessel Polaris was well within the Johor Bahru Port line when it came into contact with Pireas on Sunday.

This was followed by conflicting statements by maritime authorities in Malaysia and Singapore over the location of the Polaris.

“The Polaris was in the Johor Bahru Port line, that is our position,” Saifuddin told reporters.

He added however that Putrajaya understood Singapore’s concern as the location was the subject of dispute between the two countries.

“But we are very clear that the Polaris is within our port line. Of course they will claim that Polaris was in disputed waters, but these are issues that we will amend (fix),” he said after attending the launch of a book by businessman Anas Zubedy.

He also said talks were ongoing between Wisma Putra and the Singapore foreign ministry.

“In fact, all this while we have been negotiating many other matters,” he said.

The collision came a month after Singapore’s protest over a visit by Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian to a Malaysian government vessel, which it said had been “anchored illegally” in the waters off Tuas.

The republic later called off a Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia meeting, saying Osman’s action was “provocative”.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin said Malaysia had conveyed to Beijing its stand on the treatment of the ethnic Uighur minority.

“On an official level, Wisma Putra has conveyed to the Chinese embassy in Malaysia that we are following the matter closely.”