KEPALA BATAS – Malaysia will defend its maritime borders and sovereignty if newly discovered historical facts prove that Pulau Batu Puteh belongs to Malaysia, says Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican.
While the Government continued to foster good ties with Singapore, the Deputy Foreign Minister said Malaysia would explore the possibilities of gaining sovereignty over the island.
“In 2008, when the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague gave the island to Singapore, it did not tarnish our relationship,” he said of the island Singapore calls Pedra Branca.
“Trade between Malaysia and Singapore has even increased,” Reezal added yesterday.
Prior to the ruling, Malaysia and Singapore claimed ownership over three maritime features in the region – Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.
On May 23, nine years ago, the ICJ ruled that Singapore had sovereignty over Pulau Batu Puteh while Malaysia owned Middle Rocks. No decision was made on South Ledge.
In Genting Highlands, MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the party supported the Government’s move to challenge the ICJ judgment.
Liow said Malaysians had hoped to see the islands returned to the country.
“New proof is coming in to show that Pulau Batu Puteh belongs to Malaysia and we want to claim back our island,” he told reporters after attending a Chinese New Year open house.
It was hosted by Genting Group chairman and chief executive Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay at the Genting International Convention Centre here yesterday.
Last Friday, Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said in a statement that Malaysia filed an application to revise the ICJ’s judgment over the three islands.