SINGAPORE, Oct 5 — The Ministry of Home Affairs has registered with its Malaysian counterparts its concern over an unauthorised entry by a Royal Malaysian Police helicopter into Singapore’s airspace on September 11.
Giving details on the incident for the first time since it took place, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said that the Malaysian helicopter was travelling south-east towards Tanjung Pengelih in southern Johor when it entered Singapore’s territorial airspace above the eastern part of Pulau Tekong.
The aircraft did not have approval to do so, Dr Ng said in a written response to a parliamentary question today by Dennis Tan, Workers’ Party Member of Parliament (MP).
During the helicopter’s approach, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) issued calls to the Malaysian aircraft to keep it out of Singapore’s airspace, but did not receive a reply.
“RSAF F-16 aircraft were scrambled to investigate. After determining that our security was not compromised, the F-16 aircraft were stood down,” Dr Ng said.
The Ministry of Defence previously said that the aircraft were scrambled at about 9.20am.
Tan, who is MP for Hougang, had asked whether any Malaysian Police helicopter had entered Singapore’s airspace in September this year, what follow-up actions were taken by the authorities if so, as well as whether any diplomatic note of protest was issued.
In his reply, Dr Ng said that RSAF conducts 24/7 surveillance of Singapore’s skies to detect and respond to potential air threats, adding that Mindef responds to 350 such incidents each year.
A military aviation news portal reported on September 11 that Singapore scrambled two jet fighters on learning that a Malaysian police helicopter was detected flying over Pulau Tekong that morning.
The Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) said in a statement on Facebook that day that it was aware of social media posts claiming that its police helicopter had entered Singapore’s airspace.
The statement, which was in Malay, said: “RMP confirmed that there was an RMP-owned helicopter flight in the airspace near Singapore on that date, for official assignment purposes.”
RMP added that the Singapore authorities had not notified them of a breach into the latter’s airspace. — TODAY