Saturday, June 28, 2003

Pulau Batu Putih issue will be resolved in three years' time

KOTA TINGGI June 27 - Malaysia believes the issue on the overlapping claims of Pulau Batu Putih with Singapore will be finally resolved in three years' time, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

He said both countries had agreed to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

"We will present our case in 10 months' time and Singapore will also present its case," he told reporters after witnessing the handing over of "waqaf" land by the Johor Corporation (JCorp) to the Johor Islamic Religious Council for the site of a religious school in Felda Sungai Papan, Pengerang, near here Friday.

He said statements and facts would be presented to the ICJ for consideration and after that it would undergo the decided process and procedure.

On the Philippines' request to Malaysia to send a monitoring team in efforts to find peace between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Syed Hamid said it reflected the maturity of ASEAN countries to resolve dispute through the use of regional mechanism without involving the United Nations (UN).

Syed Hamid said the monitoring team would certainly play an important role during cease-fire and it was for this reason too that Malaysia had called for such a team in resolving the problem between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

"Malaysia wants a team to monitor and to protect civilians or else as in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the strong would continue to terrorise and kill," he said.

On JCorp, Syed Hamid commended the state government owned corporation for discharging its social obligation well.

He said that by giving away two pieces of its land for the construction of a religious school, the corporation had made itself closer to the community.

JCorp Chief Executive Tan Sri Muhammad Ali Hashim in his speech said JCorp had also bequeathed part of its business space at the Kota Raya Plaza in Johor Bahru to be used as a mosque - Utusan Malaysia