Sunday, May 25, 2008

Johor wants maritime boundaries drawn up fast

JOHOR BARU: Now that the legal dispute over Pulau Batu Puteh has been settled, the state government wants clear maritime boundaries to be drawn around the island and the Middle Rocks.

Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman urged the technical committee studying the implications of the International Court of Justice ruling to swiftly convene a meeting and set the boundaries.

The ICJ has ruled that Singapore has sovereignty over Pulau Batu Putih while it gave Malaysia ownership of the Middle Rocks.

"The boundaries are important for fishermen. Many problems with regard to territorial rights can be resolved once the boundaries are drawn," Abdul Ghani said after opening a Massif Design Sdn Bhd showroom here yesterday. The company specialises in landscaping work.

The ICJ ruled that South Ledge will belong to the state in the territorial waters of which it is located.

In George Town, DAP chairman Karpal Singh said the party was disappointed with the decision to award Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore.

He questioned how Pulau Batu Puteh could be awarded to Singapore when it was much nearer to the tip of Johor compared with Singapore.

Karpal also expressed doubts on whether the government had taken proper legal advice.

"Malaysia should not have been judged by the ICJ unless it was confident of a win. The decision may lead to other disputes of a maritime nature between Malaysia and Singapore."

He also called on the government to compensate the fishing community in Johor Baru affected by the ICJ decision - NST

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