Johor rep tells Umno veep that Pulau Batu Puteh loss was due to BN negligence

Dzulkefly Ahmad said Malaysia would not have lost the tiny island off Johor if the Barisan Nasional federal government had pushed for a review back then. — Picture by Ben Tan
Dzulkefly Ahmad said Malaysia would not have lost the tiny island off Johor if the Barisan Nasional federal government had pushed for a review back then. — Picture by Ben Tan

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JOHOR BARU, Oct 12 — Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin should stop blaming Pakatan Harapan for losing Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore, Amanah’s Dzulkefly Ahmad today.

The Kota Iskandar assemblyman said Malaysia would not have lost the tiny island off Johor if the Barisan Nasional federal government had pushed for a review back then.

“The weakness and negligence of the BN government at that time actually contributed to the failure of the Malaysian government in defending the right to claim over Pulau Batu Puteh before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which eventually was won by Singapore,” he said in a statement.

Dzulkefly who is also Johor Amanah deputy chief noted that Mohamed Khaled was mentri besar from 2013 to 2018 and should be aware of the status of the international legal dispute at that time.

The Opposition lawmaker said that in 2018, the PH federal government had tried to get a judicial review of the May 23, 2008 decision to award Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore, which is provided for under Article 61 of the ICJ Statue.

“The action of Mohamed Khaled in trying to politicise the Pulau Batu Puteh issue is regrettable because it is related to the dignity and sovereignty of the country as well as the state of Johor itself,” said Dzulkefly.

The ICJ ruled that Batu Puteh was a sovereign territory of Singapore, which calls it Pedra Branca.

In February 2017, the then attorney-general Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, filed an application for review of the judgment on the grounds of the discovery of new evidence.

The hearing date for the review was set for June 11, 2018. 

But on May 30 the same year, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was prime minister then said the federal government was considering withdrawing from the Pulau Batu Puteh case.

Last Sunday, Mohamed Khaled alleged that PH government’s act in not pursuing to review the legal decision on the issue of Pulau Batu Puteh was careless and ignores national interest.

He described it as “neglect of duty in the highest order”.

Current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is looking to revive Malaysia’s claim on Pulau Batu Puteh and has set up a special task force to find out the country’s legal options.

* An earlier version of this article contained an error which has since been rectified.

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