Malaysia has dropped its challenge over the Pedra Branca rock which is to remain as a Singapore territory, but it will enlarge another rocky islet near Singapore’s territorial waters.
Putrajaya discontinued the proceedings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) thus acknowledging Singapore’s sovereignty of Pedra Branca.
The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said it had been informed by the ICJ of Malaysia’s decision to drop two cases to revise and to interpret the judgment.
Singapore is “happy to agree” with Malaysia’s decision.
But Malaysia has plans to develop the Middle Rocks which is near to Singapore, in a surprise move by PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Singapore was in the spotlight of Mahathir’s policy reforms as the elderly leader yesterday announced that he has officially informed Singapore Malaysia will scrap the controversial High-Speed Rail project.
With the plans to develop the Middle Rocks near the city state’s territorial waters, coupled with the HSR cancellation, Mahathir is playing hardball with the Singaporeans.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Mahathir teased the ruling party in Singapore with jibes that the Singaporeans may also be tired of a one party rule.
He was referring to his own successful dislodging of the Barisan Nasional government headed by Najib Razak in the May 9 elections.
But the cunning Dr M played along the chatter within Singapore where netizens are talking about the PAP’s seemingly everlasting reign over the city-state.
However, the decision to let go of Pedra Branca seems to be Mahathir’s way of telling Singapore that everything is about the policy of ‘give and take’.
Nevertheless, Singapore was quick to note that it was not going to lose the fight at the ICJ.
Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said the Lion City was “happy to agree” to the development, which comes weeks before the ICJ was to hear the review.
“We were confident of our case, and the correctness of the ICJ decision,” Balakrishnan said.
The latter also said that when Malaysia requested to discontinue the cases, without them being argued, “we were happy to agree. Both Malaysia and Singapore had gone through the due legal process and put this matter to rest.”