Malaysia and Singapore said on Tuesday they expect to agree a land swap deal in the next three months to resolve a decades-old territorial problem.
Visiting Singapore Premier Lee Hsien Loong said both countries would finalise the deal as part of an agreement to relocate a railway station from downtown Singapore to the border with Malaysia by 2011.
“We look forward to settling the matter in three months, it’s something we want to clear expeditiously,” he told reporters.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said his country was looking to resolve the long-standing dispute quickly and that he would be going down to Singapore for a “final resolution” on the issue.
Singapore was ejected from the Malaysian federation in 1965, but Malaysia still occupies railway land in Singapore leading to Malaysian territory, including the station on the fringes of Singapore’s banking district.
Under the latest plan, Malaysia’s state railway – KTM – will move its Singapore terminal to an industrial zone just across a narrow strait from southern Malaysia’s Johore state by July 1, 2011.
Last month, the two leaders announced plans to jointly redevelop the railway’s valuable real estate in the city-state, and Lee’s visit to Kuala Lumpur Tuesday was to provide a proposal for swapping the railway land for other choice parcels.
“The overall concept is to swap the three plus three pieces of the (Malaysian railway) land with parcels of land in Marina South and or (the) Ophir-Rochor (area),” Lee added.
A company to be known as M-S Pte Ltd will be set up to take ownership of the vacated area, with 60 per cent of the equity held by Malaysian investment agency Khazanah Nasional Berhad and 40 per cent by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.