Singapore restates reclamation concerns

SINGAPORE - Singapore yesterday restated its concerns to Malaysia over land reclamation projects in the Strait of Johor, given their close proximity to Singapore.

It also reiterated a request that the works be suspended until Singapore had received and studied all the relevant information from Malaysia, including Environmental Impact Assessments, and established that there will be no transboundary impact on Singapore.

Singapore's position was stated by Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on a visit to Kuala Lumpur yesterday for the annual exchange of visits between the environment ministries of the two countries.

Malaysian news reports earlier this year said a China property developer and a Johor government company were behind a reclamation project to create a 2,000ha island for luxury homes. A project map showed part of the island under the Second Link, which connects Tuas in Singapore to Johor.

Singapore has previously expressed its concern to Malaysia.

An Environment and Water Resources Ministry statement yesterday said Dr Balakrishnan stressed that both countries are obliged under international law - in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea - to conduct and share Environmental Impact Assessments on all works that could have transboundary impact, prior to starting such works.

It added: "He noted that Singapore looked forward to Malaysia's expeditious reply to Singapore's requests on this issue."

In Kuala Lumpur, Dr Balakrishnan and Malaysian Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister James Dawos Mamit reviewed discussions held on Monday. These covered issues including the control of vehicular emissions, and emergency response plans for chemical spills at the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link and the East Johor Strait.

This article was first published on November 26, 2014.
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