KUALA LUMPUR — Umno Youth criticised Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today for suggesting that Malaysia’s fresh bid to reclaim Pulau Batu Puteh from the republic will be used as political mileage for the upcoming 14th general election.
In a statement, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said Lee’s remarks “belittled” Malaysia’s application for interpretation of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s 2008 judgment in the case concerning sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh, and could very well damage ties between both neighbouring countries.
Malaysia filed the application for revision of the ICJ judgment on February 2, following its discovery of three documents at the National Archives of the United Kingdom to support its claim.
“For Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s information, when new facts were discovered in August 2016, Malaysia’s general elections had not been announced. The filing on February 2017 was made to accord time for the preparation of documents in the span of six months that was given.
“As a reminder, Malaysia’s Parliament has yet to be dissolved till this very day, more than a year after the discovery of new facts to the case,” Khairy said in a harsh statement.
During the People’s Action Party award and convention yesterday, Lee had said that Singapore’s relations with countries like Malaysia and Indonesia will always be complex, and that some issues will crop up from time to time.
An example of this, he had said, was the case of Pulau Batu Puteh or Pedra Branca.
“I thought the issue was permanently settled long ago with the International Court of Justice ruling in 2008, which awarded Pedra Branca to Singapore. But almost a decade later, the Malaysians are going to the ICJ again, asking the Court to reinterpret and to revise the judgment.
“I’m not sure what Malaysia’s motive is, but their General Election is coming, which may have something to do with it,” Lee reportedly said.
Khairy said that while it was “easy” to gain political support by hurling accusations towards another country like Lee had done, Malaysia chooses to do the exact opposite as it viewed the issue of sovereignty very seriously and would not use the issue just to score political points during a party convention.