SINGAPORE (Jan 14): Singapore and Malaysia have declared a month’s truce, after Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah met on Jan 8 in the city state. The amicable meeting and outcome are a positive sign that leaders on both sides are making efforts to move beyond past historical provocations.

Despite the progress, there were at least two Malaysian government vessels in Singapore territorial waters off Tuas as at Jan 10, according to the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore. There were five vessels the day before.

“This is a convenient truce, as both sides have adopted a give-and-take approach. It suggests that there is hope for the thawing of Malaysia-Singapore relations under a new Pakatan Harapan government when bilateral tensions arise from time to time,” says Mustafa Izzuddin, a fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.

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