Saturday, May 24, 2008

Singapore Urged To Consider Fishermen At Pulau Batu Puteh

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 - The Singapore Government has been urged to consider that Johoreans, especially fishermen, have been using Pulau Batu Puteh for generations for transportation and fishing.

International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Malaysian Government hoped Singapore would take note of this and not jeopardise the livelihood of the fishermen.

"We hope that Singapore would understand that this matter is very close to our heart, the Johoreans," he told reporters after giving a talk on Umno's code of ethics to the Federal Territory Umno liaison committee here Saturday.

Muhyiddin was responding to a question on the decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Friday which ruled that the disputed Pulau Batu Puteh belongs to Singapore, while Malaysia owns Middle Rock.

The ICJ ruled that South Ledge belonged to the country in whose territorial waters the outcrop was located in.

Asked whether he agreed that the decision could be considered as a win-win situation for both countries, Muhyiddin said, "For me, what is lost, we cannot say that we win...we have lost our territory."

However, Muhyiddin said Malaysians had to abide by the ICJ's decision as it was not appealable.

He was also asked who should be blamed for the loss of Pulau Batu Puteh.

"I don't think we need to blame anybody on that, this is a collective responsibility.

"The matter has been decided by the Malaysian Government that the best option to settle the matter is to refer it to the ICJ," he added - Bernama

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