Thursday, May 05, 2005

Singapore, Malaysia Sign Deal Ending Dispute over Land Reclamation

April 26, 2005 — By Associated Press

SINGAPORE — Singapore and Malaysia on Tuesday signed an agreement that settles their dispute over Singapore's projects to add land along its coastline near its neighbor.

Malaysia had said the land reclamation in the Johor Strait would cause environmental degradation and constituted a violation of its territorial waters. Under the deal, Singapore must make some changes to the reclaimed shoreline, and give payments to Malaysian fishermen who stand to lose fishing areas because of the project.

The deal was signed by representatives of the two countries at Singapore's foreign ministry.

The dispute arose in December 2002, when land-scarce Singapore began creating artificial land to extend its territory along its Johor Strait coastline. Malaysia referred the dispute to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea in October 2003, which directed the countries to conduct a joint study that could lead to a solution.

The two countries have a number of long-standing spats, including access to Malaysian airspace for Singapore military aircraft, the cost of water that Malaysia sells to Singapore and Malaysia's plan to build another bridge connecting the two.

Relations have improved since Malaysia's combative former leader, Mahathir Mohamad, retired in 2003 after 22 years in power.

Singapore was part of the Malaysian Federation in the 1960s, but policy differences broke the union apart and Singapore became an independent city-state in 1965.

Source: Associated Press

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