Malaysia’s appeal withdrawal on Pulau Batu Puteh should be investigated – Najib

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 1): The Member of Parliament for Pekan, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak stressed that the withdrawal of Malaysia’s review application on Pulau Batu Puteh in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) should be investigated.

According to the former prime minister, the country had acquired at least three new pieces of evidence on the matter which led to the Cabinet at that time to appeal the decision on Pulau Batu Puteh.

“I am very dismayed why the seventh Prime Minister cancelled our appeal to ICJ as if we have purportedly accepted the decision of ICJ as final but there is a cause in the statute of ICJ that we can appeal with new evidence.

“The odd thing is that two weeks before the appeal to ICJ, the Cabinet meeting chaired by the seventh Prime Minister decided to withdraw the appeal to ICJ. We have lost, what is wrong in continuing, we may win, who knows?

“Singapore was shocked with our decision. We also do not understand and we want answers,” he said during the debate on the 2022 Supply Bill at Dewan Rakyat today.

Najib said the issue of the country‘s sovereignty cannot be compromised, therefore if a victory favours Malaysia, it would defend the sovereignty of the country.

On Feb 3, 2017, the Malaysian government filed an application to review the decision of ICJ on May 8, 2008 which decided that Singapore has sovereignty over Pulau Batu Puteh while Malaysia has sovereignty over the Middle Rocks.

Malaysia filed an application to review based on three new documents revealed by the United Kingdom.

The documents are internal correspondence of the colonial authority of Singapore in 1958, an incident report was filed in 1958 by a British navy officer and a map with notes on the naval operations in 1960s.

On Feb 16 2017, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali who was the Attorney-General then said he would be heading a team of experts to handle the appeal at ICJ, the Hague, Netherlands.

However, in 2018 the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government under the leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad withdrew the review application before it was scheduled to be heard on June 11 2018 at ICJ.

On Oct 9, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said a special task force would be set up to carry out a comprehensive study and propose appropriate options by obtaining the views of international legal experts to carry out a review of the laws on the Pedra Branca /Pulau Batu Puteh case.

According to Ismail Sabri, the task force is aimed at reviewing the laws on the review application and interpretations of the Pulau Batu Puteh case.

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