Singapore and Malaysia ratify sea boundary treaty demarcating the territorial seas in the western party of the Strait of Singapore; Malaysia welcomes end of US forces’ combat role in Iraq; Indonesia-Malaysia maritime border dispute continues
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  • Singapore and Malaysia have recently ratified the sea boundary treaty that clearly demarcates the territorial seas in the western part of the Strait of Singapore. Under this treaty both the states have agreed to continue accepting the current territorial sea boundary which was agreed upon earlier by both sides on May 25, 1973. The newly ratified treaty is to provide legal basis for both the states to oversee the security, safety of navigation, law enforcement and the protection of the maritime zones under their current national law.1

    While hailing the recent decision by the United States to bring an end to its seven years long combat role in Iraq as the right thing to do, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak hoped that a stable government would soon come to power in Iraq to ensure peace and stability within the country.2

    In the wake of recent arrests of seven Malaysian fishermen by Indonesian authorities for allegedly trespassing in Indonesian waters and three enforcement officers by Malaysian authorities in waters near Bintan island earlier this month, many Indonesians have reportedly turned hostile against Malaysia. Although both the states have already released the detained persons, it has not assuaged the Indonesian protesters who claim that Malaysia should apologize to Indonesia for tarnishing the latter’s image.3 In the meantime, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is hopeful of resolving the maritime boundary dispute early so that the age old cordial bilateral relationship can be maintained and improved further.4

    Indonesia has already expressed its eagerness to discuss maritime disputes with Malaysia in the upcoming meeting between the two states scheduled to be held on September 6, 2010 in Kota Kinabalu. In the meeting, the Indonesian delegates will not only discuss with their Malaysia counterparts regarding the disputes over five segments (Straits of Melaka, Straits of Melaka South, Straits of Singapore, Straits of Sulawesi and South China Sea), but also seek clarification on the recent disputes occurred between the two states which has strained the bilateral relations.5