Saturday, May 24, 2008

Legal implications 'to be studied'

By Sheridan Mahavera

JOHOR BARU: The government will form a technical committee to study the legal implications of the International Court of Justice's decision on Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

However, since the court upheld Malaysia's claim to Middle Rocks, Singapore cannot make any unilateral decision or work to reclaim land around the island republic.

Najib said the decision benefited Malaysia "on balance" as it confirmed the country's ownership of Middle Rocks and the area around it.

The marine feature, which lies south of Pulau Batu Puteh, is also important in determining maritime borders between Malaysia and Singapore.

"As far as Pulau Batu Puteh is concerned, it has always been managed by Singapore." The committee, he said, would meet and take a few weeks to study the implications of the decision but what was important was that Malaysians accepted it.

"Of course, I do understand the importance and the symbolic nature of Pulau Batu Puteh to Malaysia and to the people of Johor.

"I can understand the disappointment but we must take it in the spirit that it was our decision to take it (the dispute) to the ICJ."

On how he personally felt about the decision, Najib said: "When you go into court you want to win the maximum.

"We did not get all that we wanted. We got some of it. It is a disappointment, but it is something that we have to accept.

"Although we were not successful in the whole claim, at least we defended half of it," Najib added - NST

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