ICJ rules for S’pore on islet dispute with Malaysia

ICJ rules for S’pore on islet dispute with Malaysia 

By Lydia Lim, Senior Political Correspondent 


A 28-YEAR-OLD tussle for sovereignty over Pedra Branca and its outcrops came to an end on Friday when the International Court of Justice (ICJ) awarded the main island to Singapore, and two smaller outcrops nearby to Malaysia.

The court did not make a definitive ruling on the third rock of contention, South Ledge which is visible only at low tide. It belongs to whoever owns the territorial waters it sits in, said the court.


The judgment was telecast live in both countries, and when Judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh concluded his two-hour statement at 6pm, Singaporeans and Malaysians alike applauded the decision.


Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar told reporters at The Hague: ‘We are pleased with the judgment because the court has awarded sovereignty over Pedra Branca, which is the main feature in dispute, to Singapore.’


Malaysia‘s Foreign Minister Rais Yatim described it as a ‘win-win’ judgment and said that both countries would ‘forge ahead’ in their bilateral relationship.


In Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong declared he was pleased with the result, saying that resorting to the ICJ was ‘a good way for (the two countries) to resolve disagreements or problems while maintaining good relations with each other’.


In Malaysia, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak called it a ‘balanced decision’, with Malaysia ‘partly successful’ in its territorial claims.


The two hours at the ICJ were suspense-filled and had the Singapore delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar, at the edge of their seats for much of the time.


For the first hour, it actually seemed as if the court would find in Malaysia’s favour.


Source: Straits Times

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