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SINGAPORE: Malaysia’s economic affairs minister Azmin Ali will meet Singapore ministers to discuss “other bilateral issues” following the postponement of the 14th meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM), Malaysia’s foreign affairs ministry said on Sunday (Jan 13).

In its press release, the ministry said Mr Azmin will still meet Singapore’s National Development Minister Lawrence Wong and Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, adding that this “demonstrates that ties between the two countries remain strong.”

Singapore announced on Saturday that it has postponed the JMCIM – which was scheduled to take place on Jan 14 – after Johor’s chief minister Osman Sapian’s intrusion into Singapore’s territorial waters when he made a visit to the Malaysian vessel Pedoman.

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Malaysia’s foreign ministry confirmed the postponement of the talks and said: “The reason for the postponement, as conveyed by Singapore vide a Diplomatic Note dated 11 January 2019 was due to the visit by YAB Dato’Osman Sapian, the Chief Minister of Johor to Johor Bahru port in Malaysian territorial waters on 9 January 2019.”

But the ministry added that the meeting between Mr Azmin and Singapore ministers Mr Wong and Dr Balakrishnan on other matters will proceed.

Illustration showing the adjustment of Singapore and Malaysia’s port limits.

READ: Singapore postpones joint ministerial committee talks on Iskandar after Johor chief minister’s intrusion into its territorial waters

“The meeting will form the next positive step forward after the fruitful bilateral meeting held between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia and Singapore on 8 January 2019.”

The ministry added that both foreign ministers are “in communication and agreed that both sides should remain calm and not sensationalise the matter”.

“The Ministry is confident that the current momentum of engagement between Malaysia and Singapore will continue and reiterates its commitment to strengthen bilateral relations with Singapore based on equality and mutual respect,” Malaysia’s foreign ministry added.

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