Indonesia to Build Karang Singa to Avoid Territorial Dispute with Malaysia

Diana Mariska
Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian (Photo: Ministry of Home Affairs)
Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian (Photo: Ministry of Home Affairs) - The Indonesian government claims it targets to start infrastructural development in Karang Singa, Riau Islands, next year to avoid territorial dispute with neighbor countries that has borders with the area, such as Singapore and Malaysia.

Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian emphasized the importance of Karang Singa due to its strategic location but admitted that it’s prone to being claimed by other states. Therefore, Indonesia needs to speed up infrastructure construction to strengthen presence.

And during a hearing with Commission II of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 5, Karnavian delivered his proposal to start the development in 2023, at the latest.

“I’m asking for your support so that [the area] can be built this year, [or] next year at the latest, before any country interferes,” he said, as reported by Antara.

He added that Karang Singa, which is located 6.85 km north of Bintan Island, is a choke point in Malaka Strait, and Indonesia must assert its presence in the area to protect it from external threats.

“I’ve had meeting with Deputy Minister of Defense, chief of the Maritime Security Agency [Bakamla], and Minister of Transportation to build, at least, lighthouse. We wouldn’t want the case of Sipadan and Ligitan to happen again, because [Karang Singa] is the main choke point from Aceh to Bintan,” Karnavian said, referring to the 2002 territorial dispute when Malaysia claimed Sipadan and Ligitan Islands to be part of their state territory. The dispute ended after the International Court of Justice concluded that most part of the two islands belongs to Indonesia’s neighbor.

Meanwhile, according to Merriam-Webster, choke point is a strategic narrow route providing passage through or to another region, and there are six of them in the world: Strait of Hormuz, Strait of Malacca, Suez Canal, Bosporus, Bab el-Mandab, and the Panama Canal.

Lastly, Karnavian revealed that during his visit to Karang Singa in January this year, he witnessed that both Malaysia and Singapore has built infrastructure in their own territory while in Indonesia’s, there was only buoy.

“In Malaysia’s territory, there has been helipad, and in Singapore’s, the structure is already massive.”

Tag # indonesia territory border # riau islands # indonesia territorial dispute # tito karnavian # ministry of home affairs

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