Johor MP claims S'pore military jets invaded M'sian airspace but it was a joint exercise hosted by M'sia

The joint exercise was held together with the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Faris Alfiq | October 20, 2021, 06:19 PM

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The Singapore military aircraft that flew over southern Johor were involved in a joint military drill earlier this month, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) clarified in a statement on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

This meant that the Malaysian authorities were aware of their presence and had given their approval.

Malaysia part of the joint exercise

Called Exercise Bersama Gold, a Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) exercise, it was jointly conducted by all five FPDA countries -- Singapore, Malaysia, the UK, Australia and New Zealand -- from Oct. 4 to 18.

The joint exercise was hosted by the Malaysian Armed Forces, and conducted over the FPDA's traditional exercise area over Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and adjoining waters, Mindef further explained.

The ministry added that participating countries' aircraft "had obtained the requisite approvals to enter Malaysian territorial airspace, including Southern Johor".

In addition, information on the aircraft activities as part of the exercise has been publicly announced by both the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore on Sep. 9 and Sep. 10 respectively.

Taking to Facebook, Mindef said they had concluded the FPDA Bersama Gold exercise on Oct. 18, ahead of its golden jubilee on Nov. 1.

According to Mindef, the exercise comprised contactless air and maritime exercise serials involving manoeuvring, gunnery firings, anti-submarine and air defence, as well as a virtual jungle warfare workshop.

The exercise concluded with a flypast and a naval vessel display in Singapore, featuring fighter aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and naval vessels from FPDA member nations.

Malaysia's Minister of Defence, Hishammuddin Hussein, had also taken to his Facebook on Oct. 19 to share more on the exercise, posting a video which stated that Malaysia was the host country for this year's exercise.

In another post on Oct. 19, Hishammuddin also shared some photos of Malaysia's involvement in the flypast, and a naval vessel display.

Johor MP claimed Singapore military aircraft intrude Malaysian airspace

Previously, Johor's Member of Parliament for Pasir Gudang constituency Hassan Abdul Karim claimed that Singapore's Air Force has been flying its military aircraft into Malaysian airspace, Malay Mail reported.

He also said the frequency appeared to have increased since calls started from the Malaysian government to review the ownership of Pedra Branca.

On Oct. 9, Malaysia's Prime Minister Ismail Sabri said that a special task force will conduct a comprehensive study, scrutinise, and recommend necessary options on the Pedra Branca case. 

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) had ruled on May 23, 2008, that Singapore had sovereignty over Pedra Branca.

Johor MP requests government to investigate airspace "invasion"

Hassan had called for the federal government to take appropriate actions over what he claimed was an airspace intrusion.

"(The residents) complained to me about the frequency of sightings that the Republic of Singapore's military planes were flying low in the airspace adjacent to Singapore," he added, as reported by Malay Mail.

Hassan also said that he had received numerous complaints from members of the public, especially this month from residents of Pasir Gudang and Tebrau constituencies.

"I request that the federal and Johor governments take note of the alleged incident," he said, and called on both the country's Ministry of Defence and Foreign Affairs to "investigate the incident of Malaysian airspace invasion by foreign aircraft".

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Top image via video screenshot from Mindef/Facebook