- Malaysia-Singapore border
The Malaysia-Singapore border is an international maritime border between the
Southeast Asian countries of Malaysia, which lies to the north of the border, and Singaporeto the south. The border is to a large extent formed by straight lines between geographical coordinates running along or near the deepest channel of the Straits of Johor(Malay: "Selat Tebrau"). ["Agreement between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of the Republic of Singapore to delimit precisely the territorial waters boundary in accordance with the Straits Settlement and Johor Territorial Waters Agreement 1927", signed on 7 August 1995.]
The western portion of the border beyond that delimited by the 1995 agreement goes into the western section of the Singapore Straits while the eastern portion of the border beyond the eastern terminus of the defined border continues into the eastern section of the Singapore Straits. Outside the border defined by the 1995 agreement, there is still no formal agreement between the two countries to delimit their common borders and this has resulted in several overlapping claims. Singapore claims a three nautical mile
territorial sealimit, while Malaysia claims a 12 nautical mile territorial sea limit.
Following the International Court of Justice decision on
23 May 2008on the sovereignty of Pedra Branca which gave the island to Singapore, the new portion of the Malaysia-Singapore maritime border around the island will also need to be determined. The island lies 24 nautical miles or 44km east from the eastern most point of Singapore, and 7.7 nautical miles or 14.2km southeast of the Malaysian coastline.
There is also a dispute involving the alleged incursion into Malaysian territorial waters by land reclamation works by Singapore at the western entrance to the Straits of Johor.
There are two structural crossings along the border. They are the
Johor-Singapore Causewayand the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link(as known in Malaysia), or the Tuas Second Link (as known in Singapore). There is also an international ferry service between Pengarang at the southeastern tip of Johorand Changi Village at the eastern of the island.
A large extent of the Malaysia-Singapore border is defined by the Agreement between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of the Republic of Singapore to delimit precisely the territorial waters boundary in accordance with the Straits Settlement and Johore Territorial Waters Agreement 1927 as being straight lines joining a series of 72 geographical coordinates roughly running about 50 nautical miles along the deepest channel (
thalweg) between the western and eastern entrances of the Straits of Johor. This delineation was arrived at and agreed to jointly by the two governments and resulted in the agreement being signed on 7 August 1995. [cite book | last = Charney | first = Jonathan I | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = International Maritine Boundaries | publisher = Martinus Nijhoff Publishers | date = 2005 | location = | pages = 2345-56 | url = http://books.google.com/books?id=XkgfZJjh3BUC&pg=PA2345&lpg=PA2345&dq=straits+settlements+and+johor+territorial+waters+agreement&source=web&ots=7W78KslwTR&sig=hDVcGQCK3vNA_gvQjf0Ht_CygRc#PPA2356,M1 | doi = | id = | isbn = 9041103457]
The coordinates, which are stated in Annex 1 of the agreement, are as follows:
Malaysia's maritime boundary is however not recognised by Singapore [cite court |litigants = Sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge (Malaysia/Singapore) |vol = 1 |reporter = Memorial of Singapore |opinion = |pinpoint = p22 |court = International Court of Justice |date = 2004 |url=http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/130/14133.pdf] and Singapore disputes many parts of the territorial sea and continuental shelf border. Among them is a slice of territorial waters called the "Point 20 sliver", and previously, the sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh/Pedra Branca (which lies within the 12 nautical mile territorial waters claimed by Malaysia) which has since been decided by the International Court of Justice in Singapore's favour.
With the award to Singapore of the sovereignty of the island, further determination of the maritime boundary between the two countries, and probably also with Indonesia, in these waters would have to be done. It is not known whether Singapore's territorial waters will run continuously in the stretch of waters between Singapore island and Pedra Branca as it lies beyond the three nautical mile zone claimed by Singapore. The determination of the border could be further complicated by the award of
Middle Rocks, which lies 0.6 nautical miles (1.5km) south of Pedra Branca, to Malaysia. Both countries have said that a joint technical committee will be formed to determine the maritime border. [Citation | last = Mahavera | first = Sheridan | author-link = | last2 = | first2 = | author2-link = | title = Legal implications 'to be studied' | newspaper= New Straits Times| pages = 4 | year = 2008 | date = 24 May 2008 | url = ]
The border between Malaysia and Singapore only came into existence in the 19th century with the establishment and subsequent of cession of the island to the
British East India Companyby the Sultanate of Johorin 1824. Prior to that, Singapore was an integral part of the Johor Sultanate and subsequently, the Johor-Riau Sultanate.
The border changed from being an international border to a sub-national boundary (boundary of a division within a country) and vice-versa several times. It became an international border after the cession of Singapore to the East India Company by Johor in 1824 as Johor was "de jure" a sovereign state. In 1914, the border became that of between two British-ruled territories when Johor became a British protectorate while Singapore remained a British crown colony.
On 31 August 1957, the
Federation of Malaya(which consisted of only Peninsular Malaysia), which included Johor as a component state, became independent and the Johor-Singapore border again became an international boundary between the sovereign state of Malaya and the self-governing British territory of Singapore. On 16 September 1963, Singapore merged with and become a component state of the Federation of Malaysia, rendering the border one between two component states of Malaysia. The border again became an international border when Singapore separated from Malaysia on 9 August 1965 to become an independent, sovereign nation.
The Malaysian and Singaporean governments have been involved in a range of disputes and disagreements which have tested the bilateral relations between the two countries. Most of these, including that over
Keretapi Tanah Melayu, or Malayan Railway, land in Singapore, are not territorial or border disputes as they do not involve questions of sovereignty over territory or territorial waters.
There have, however, been two disputes concerning sovereignty of territory along the Malaysia-Singapore border. The more well-known one is that over Pedra Branca, which the International Court of Justice decided in Singapore's favour on
23 May 2008. Another case arose from a "complaint" by Malaysia over reclamation carried out by Singapore at territorial waters adjacent to the border with Malaysia. The dispute was submitted to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Seain Hamburg by Malaysia on 4 September 2003.
overeignty of Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh
Pedra Branca (as the island is known in Singapore) or Pulau Batu Puteh (as it is known in Malaysia) is an island located at the eastern entrance to the Singapore Straits to the southeast of the southeastern tip of Johor, Malaysia. Together with two other marine features called Middle Rocks and South Ledge, they were subject to a sovereignty dispute between Malaysia and Singapore. On
23 May 2008, the International Court of Justice decided that Singapore had sovereignty over Pedra Branca while Malaysia had sovereignty over Middle Rocks. It left the question of sovereignty over South Ledge, which only appears during low tide, to be determined later by stating that its sovereignty would depend on whose territorial waters it was located in. The decision settles a long-standing barrier to the negotiation process for the determination of the maritime boundary between the two countries and both Malaysia and Singapore said immediately after the ICJ decision that a joint technical committee would be set up to determine the maritime border in the waters around Pedra Branca.
ingaporean land reclamation case
This dispute resulted from reclamation works carried out by Singapore in two areas, namely in the southwestern end of the island called the Tuas development, and in the waters adjacent to Pulau Tekong in the Straits of Johor. The latter does not involve any encroachment into the territorial waters of Malaysia, and Malaysia merely argued that the reclamation works would affect the environment of the Straits of Johor as a shared waterway.
The Tuas development, however, can be deemed a case of territorial dispute as Malaysia claims the reclamation works has encroached into its territorial waters in an area called the "Point 20 sliver" [See [http://www.mfa.gov.sg/reclamation/img6.html map1] and [http://www.mfa.gov.sg/reclamation/img7.html map2] of "point 20" reproduced in cite court |litigants = Case concerning Land Reclamation by Singapore in and around the Straits of Johor (Malaysia v. Singapore), Provisional Measures, Case 12 |vol = |reporter = Response of Singapore |opinion = |pinpoint = |court = International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea |date = 2003 |url=http://www.mfa.gov.sg/reclamation/ResponseofSingapore.htm] . The "Point 20 sliver", regarded as an anomaly by Singapore, arises as a result of the unilateral declaration of Malaysia's territorial waters boundary as defined by a 1979 map published by Malaysia where between turning points No 19 and No 21, Point 20 strikes out to the east of the general continental shelf boundary towards Singapore, thus forming a triangle of Malaysian territorial waters extending easwards from the general north-south territorial waters boundary. The Tuas development reclamation project encroaches into this sliver of territorial waters. Singapore does not recognise the 1979 continental shelf boundary and thus, does not recognise the "point 20 sliver" as under Malaysian sovereignty. [cite court |litigants = Case concerning Land Reclamation by Singapore in and around the Straits of Johor (Malaysia v. Singapore), Provisional Measures, Case 12 |vol = |reporter = Response of Singapore |opinion = |pinpoint = |court = International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea |date = 2003 |url=http://www.itlos.org/case_documents/2003/document_en_224.pdf]
In 2003, Malaysia submitted a case to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and requested for provisional measures against Singapore's reclamation works, including that concerning Point 20. On
8 October 2003, the tribunal decided that:
:Malaysia has not shown that there is a situation of urgency or that there is a risk that its rights with respect to an area of its territorial sea would suffer irreversible damage pending consideration of the merits of the case by the arbitral tribunal. Therefore, the Tribunal does not consider it appropriate to prescribe provisional measures with respect to the land reclamation by Singapore in the sector of Tuas. [cite press release
title = Order in the case concerning land reclamation by Singapore in and around the Straits of Johor (Malaysia v. Singapore) | publisher = International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea | date = 8 October 2003 | url = http://www.itlos.org/news/press_release/2003/press_release_84_en.pdf | accessdate = 2008-05-27]
There are two border crossings which are physical structures across the Straits of Johor, namely the
Johor-Singapore Causewayand the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link(known officially as Tuas Second Link in Singapore, "Linkedua" in Malaysia). Besides the two road crossings, there is also a sea crossing between Pengerang in Johor and Changi in Singapore. There is also the unique Tanjong Pagar railway station/Woodlands Train Checkpoint "crossing", an anomaly which resulted from colonial rule in Malaysia and Singapore.
Construction of the Johor-Singapore Causeway was completed in 1923 and besides a road, it also has a railway line allowing the Malayan Railway network to terminate at Tanjong Pagar in the southern part of Singapore. Checkpoints for identity card checks were set up in 1966, and passport checks began in 1967. [Citation | last = | first = | author-link = | last2 = | first2 = | author2-link = | title = History of Singapore Immigration | date = | year = | url = http://app.ica.gov.sg/about_ica/heritage/history_sir/immigration.asp | accessdate = 2008-03-19] Malaysian immigration is located on the
Johor Bahruside (where there are several checkpoints, namely the Johor Bahru Causeway for private vehicles, and Tanjung Puteri for commercial vehicles like buses and trucks), while Singaporean immigration is located on the Woodlands side of the causeway.
Malaysia-Singapore Second Link
The Second Link, the second border crossing between the two countries, connects Tuas on the Singaporean side to Tanjung Kupang on the Malaysian side, was completed and opened to traffic on 2 January 1998.
Changi Point-Pengerang sea crossing
There is also a sea crossing between Malaysia and Singapore between Pengerang in the southeastern tip of
Johorand Changi Point near Changi Village in the northeastern tip of Singapore. The Singapore immigration post in Changi Point was set up in November 1967. [Citation | last = | first = | author-link = | last2 = | first2 = | author2-link = | title = History of Our Checkpoints | date = | year = | url = http://app.ica.gov.sg/about_ica/heritage/history_sir/checkpoints.asp | accessdate = 2008-03-03]
Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and the Woodlands Train Checkpoint
Another border crossing between Malaysia and Singapore can be said to exist at the
Tanjong Pagar Railway Stationon Keppel Road in Singapore. Although located away from the actual physical border and deep in Singaporean territory, Tanjong Pagar Railway Station used to be the processing point for passengers leaving or entering Singapore to or from Malaysia by train. The station used to house both Malaysian and Singaporean customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ). This changed on 1 August 1998 when Singapore closed its CIQ checkpoint at the station and moved it to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint which is part of the Woodlands CIQ complex located at the northern part of the island just before the Causeway. Malaysia, however, refused to move its immigration checkpoint and maintains it at the railway station, creating a bilateral relations row between the two countries. [Citation | last = | first = | author-link = | last2 = | first2 = | author2-link = | title = Tanjong Pagar: Talks 'break down' | newspaper= New Straits Times| pages = 1, 7 | year = 1998 | date = 31 July 1998 | url = ] This created the unusual situation where a person entering Malaysia by train gets processed first for entering Malaysia by Malaysian immigration at the railway station, before being processed for exiting Singapore by Singaporean immigration at Woodlands. For a person entering Singapore by train, Malaysian immigration procedures are carried out on the train in Johor Bahruwhile Singaporean immigration procedures are done at the Woodlands checkpoint; therefore, passengers arriving at Tanjong Pagar no longer have to go through immigration at the railway station.
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