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Saturday, 24 May 2008

PITA POLITIK (27): THE PULAU BATU PUTEH SAGA


The Star's front page, 24 May 2008.


Pulau Batu Puteh is now Singapore's.Possible reclamation (expansion) north and eastwards?


Middle Rocks remains Malaysia's. Possible reclamation (expansion) east and westwrds?


The map showing the location of Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and the South Ledge. , in relation to Singapore and Johore. Who gets South Ledge?(Source: The Star).


The island republic of Singapore seperated from Malaysia by Selat Tebrau (Johor Strait) has just won sovereignty over Pulau Batu Putih.

PULAU BATU PUTEH DECISION: Legal implications 'to be studied'
However, since the court upheld Malaysia's claim to Middle Rocks, Singapore cannot make any unilateral decision or work to reclaim land around the island republic.

Najib said the decision benefited Malaysia "on balance" as it confirmed the country's ownership of Middle Rocks and the area around it.

The marine feature, which lies south of Pulau Batu Puteh, is also important in determining maritime borders between Malaysia and Singapore.

"As far as Pulau Batu Puteh is concerned, it has always been managed by Singapore."

The committee, he said, would meet and take a few weeks to study the implications of the decision but what was important was that Malaysians accepted it.

"Of course, I do understand the importance and the symbolic nature of Pulau Batu Puteh to Malaysia and to the people of Johor.

"I can understand the disappointment but we must take it in the spirit that it was our decision to take it (the dispute) to the ICJ."

On how he personally felt about the decision, Najib said: "When you go into court you want to win the maximum.

"We did not get all that we wanted. We got some of it. It is a disappointment, but it is something that we have to accept.

"Although we were not successful in the whole claim, at least we defended half of it," Najib added. (NST Online, 24 May 2008)

Comment:

If only we jealously guarded our territorial waters and borders and strictly adhered to the sense of belongings and discarded our "tidak apa" attitude and of "taking things for granted" we would have probably won the case. The problem is we were too relaxed in our pursuit of our sovereignty. Remember what happened to our water negotiation with Singapore the moment the Water Agreement reached its expiry deadline. Did we act to renegotiate prior to the expiry date? Won't we suppose to remind ourselves about the expiry deadline. Who was the Menteri Besar of Johore then? Didn't he have the responsibility to monitor the Agreement in question. As for the Pulau Batu Putih, the least we could do then was to pretend to be active on the island long before Singapore busied itself monitoring the lighthouse.

As ICJ in its report suggested Malaysia was silence when Singapore pursued its case to claim sovereignty. As Malaysians at large sid, "Let this be a lesson to Malaysia and it sounds like sour grapes when someone mentioned that the ICJ verdict was a win-win situation for both Malaysia and Singapore." The people in the street accurately put it: "Singapore got an island, while Malaysia was just happy with a coral ridge."

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