SINGAPORE (Dec 10): When CNN dubbed the Singapore version of chendol one of the top 50 desserts in the world this past week, Malaysians reacted with predictable outrage. And, the bitterness over the sweet dessert quickly proved to be an ill omen for bilateral relations between Malaysia and Singapore. Now, Malaysia wants to reclaim the management of airspace over south Johor, while Singapore is protesting the intrusion of Malaysian vessels into its territorial waters.

The first sign of trouble brewing came on Nov 23, when some passengers of Malaysia Airlines subsidiary Firefly were told via SMS that flights to and from Singapore would be suspended from Dec 1. Singapore wants to shift all turboprop flights from Changi Airport to Seletar, but the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia had not given Firefly the go-ahead to shift.

On Dec 4, Malaysia’s Transport Minister Anthony Loke announced plans to take back “full control” of the airspace over southern Johor, which has been managed by Singapore under an international agreement for the past 44 years. He cited national sovereignty and hindrance to development plans of the Pasir Gudang area as reasons.

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