PUTRAJAYA (April 9): Malaysia is planning to take back its delegated airspace from Singapore in stages, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Malaysia aims to do this within the time frame beginning end of this year to 2023,” he said at a joint press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after the conclusion of the 9th Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat here today.
Stressing that the two countries have a long history of aviation cooperation, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia had made significant investments in preparations to take back the said delegated airspace and hoped it could be done expeditiously.
"We are members of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and continue to work together on this international platform for mutual interest," he said.
On Malaysia-Singapore maritime boundaries, Dr Mahathir said both countries would now proceed to maritime boundary delimitation in the area.
“A new committee will be established for this purpose and will commence (its work) by next month,” he added.
Ultimately, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia believed it was important to delimit all outstanding maritime boundaries between the two countries, and not only to delimit the area surrounding the port limits.
Meanwhile, Lee said both countries have made progress to de-escalate the situation at sea and avoid further incidents and the negotiations to delimit maritime boundaries would begin within a month.
On the airspace issue, Lee said Malaysia had stated its intention to review the existing airspace arrangement under which the provision of air traffic services over southern Peninsular Malaysia, and that Singapore was ready to discuss the matter with Malaysia.
“The key considerations are the safety and efficiency of air traffic operations and the needs and interests of both countries. I told Dr Mahathir this was a complex matter that would involve consulting many stakeholders, including airlines and ICAO and cannot be rushed,” he said.