Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pulau Batu Puteh decision: Fishermen can access Middle Rocks

By V. Anbalagan from the The Hague

MALAYSIAN fishermen can now operate freely in the waters off Middle Rocks following the International Court of Justice's ruling, which awarded the uninhabited outcropping to Malaysia, an academician said.

Pulau Batu Puteh is a granite island 137m long, with an average width of 60m and covering 8,560 sq metres at low tide. It is situated at the eastern entrance of the Straits of Singapore. It lies 25.5 nautical miles to the east of Singapore, 7.7 nautical miles to the south of Johor and 7.6 nautical miles to the north of the Indonesian island of Bintan. The Horsburgh lighthouse in Pulau Batu Puteh was built in 1851. Middle Rocks and South Ledge are the two maritime features closest to Pulau Batu Puteh. Middle Rocks is located 0.6 nautical miles to the south and consists of two small rocks about 250 metres apart that are above water and stand 0.6m to 1.2m high. South Ledge, at 2.2 nautical miles to the southwest of Pulau Batu Puteh, is a rock formation only visible at low tide.

Professor Dr Nik Anuar Nik Mahmud, senior lecturer with The Malay World and Civilisation Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said the navy and marine police could patrol the area without hindrance.

He said the air force would also have access to the airspace.

"We have been denied entry to that locality since 1986 after Singapore took control of Pulau Batu Puteh (PBP) and the two maritime features. The republic has lost that exclusivity now," he told Malaysian journalists.

Nik Anuar was one of the researchers who assisted the Malaysian legal team to prepare its case before the ICJ.
The dispute over PBP started in 1980 when Malaysia published a map with the island lying within its territory.

In 1993, Singapore extended its claim to PBP by including two clusters of rocks nearby, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, after both nations failed to resolve the issue through bilateral means.

On Friday, the ICJ, in a 12-4 majority ruling, held that sovereignty over the island belonged to Singapore.

In a 15-1 majority ruling, the court held that Malaysia had ownership of Middle Rocks.

The court, in a 15-1 majority ruling, also stated that sovereignty over South Ledge belonged to the "state in the territorial waters of which it is located".

South Ledge is a rock formation only visible at low tide.

The court said it could not decide on the status of South Ledge because Malaysia and Singapore had only asked it to arbitrate on the matter of sovereignty separately for each of the three maritime features.

"The court observes that it has not been mandated by the parties to draw the line of delimitation with respect to the territorial waters of Malaysia and Singapore in the area in question," it said.

Nik Anuar said a careful reading of the judgment would imply that sovereignty over South Ledge also belonged to Malaysia. This was because South Ledge is only 1.7 nautical miles south of Middle Rocks.

"It is within the internationally held 12 nautical miles radius limitation to be part of Malaysian territorial waters."

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said it would appear that Malaysia would have sovereignty over South Ledge.

Co-agent and former Malaysian ambassador to the Netherlands Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin said the ruling had contained Singapore from undertaking any activities unilaterally.

"She has a neighbour now because the court has recognised that Malaysia has sovereignty over Middle Rocks."

She expressed hope both nations could resolve the outstanding issues.

During the oral hearing last November, Malaysia's agent, Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Mohamad, said Singapore wanted to redefine her status from being a mere "lighthouse operator" by claiming sovereignty over PBP and the two maritime features.

The ruling by the ICJ affirmed Malaysia's stand that the Johor sultanate had the undisputed title over PBP and the surrounding areas from time immemorial - NST

'People sad but accept ruling'

KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore has to ensure that the people of Malaysia, especially fishermen, will not be adversely affected by the ruling awarding Pulau Batu Puteh to the republic, Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday.

He said while the people of Johor were saddened by the decision, Malaysians had to accept the court's decision.

Muhyiddin distanced himself from the statement by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim that the court had given a "win-win" ruling.

"We lost it (Pulau Batu Puteh). I will not say it is a win-win situation," he said after a closed-door briefing with Umno members on the party's ethics.

Muhyiddin disagreed with those who blamed the past administration for the loss. "We are collectively responsible."

Asked whether the party's constitution should be amended to prevent members from demanding a leader to step down, he said such a move would be seen as undemocratic.

He said every member had the right to voice his views.

"We are a democratic party. It is a matter of how and the kind of language used when they express their views."

On the possibility of mass resignations from the party, Muhyiddin said he believed that 99.99 per cent of Umno members would remain in the party because they had faith in Umno fighting for Malay rights and Islam.

He urged members to behave in accordance with the ethics set by the party.

"We are under the scrutiny of the Malays as well as the non-Malays. We must behave properly and ensure our actions do not tarnish the party's image."

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

Doing it the Asean way

By NST Editorial

IT was seen live on television and the official score now, so to speak, is level, with the venerable judges of the International Court of Justice ruling for Singapore in the case of Pulau Batu Puteh, giving Malaysia the Middle Rocks, and the South Ledge to be decided in extra time, which will be played out from now.

The live telecast from The Hague may not have had the worldwide audience that the live telecast from Moscow of the pulsating Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea commanded, extra time penalty shoot-out and all.

Nevertheless, the implications of the ICJ ruling could be far reaching for the two nations regarding the customary 12-nautical-mile territorial sea limit and the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone which involves the question of oil and mineral rights, fishing and right of passage, considering that tiny Pulau Batu Puteh is about 14.3km from Johor and 46.3km from Singapore.

And it gets more complicated with Middle Rocks, the two rocks situated about half a nautical mile south of Pulau Batu Puteh, and 1.7 nautical miles from South Ledge, a low tide elevation, which, according to the ICJ, "belongs to the state in the territorial waters of which it is located", not exactly Solomon's justice, but the court was "not mandated to draw the line of delimitation with respect to the territorial waters of Malaysia and Singapore in the area in question".

And these complicated little bits of territories lie at the eastern entrance of the very busy Straits of Singapore, which provides the deepwater passage to the Port of Singapore. But complicated as it may be, both countries chartered the right course, referring the dispute, which arose in 1980, to the ICJ, whose finding is binding on both countries.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim declared the decision "a win-win outcome for both sides"; and continued that on South Ledge and other related matters, both countries would set up a committee and future announcements would be made through it.

Singapore's Foreign Ministry said the country would "put this issue behind us and move on to strengthen our bilateral and regional co-operation". This is the Asean way to solving disputes, with respect for international law and a commitment to settling disagreements in an amicable manner, like the way Malaysia and Indonesia went to The Hague over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan, with the court ruling in favour of Malaysia in 2002, a decision that was accepted by Indonesia - NST

After The Hague, it's time to move on

By Abdul Ghafur Hamid

IT was a suspenseful time for both Malaysian and Singaporean delegations to the Hague when the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered its judgment on Friday. The judgment was not a winner-take-all but a split one, adjudging Pulau Batu Puteh (PBP) to Singapore, Middle Rocks to Malaysia, and South Ledge to the state in the territorial waters of which it is located.

PBP is a small granite rocky island, 137m by 60m (roughly half the size of a football field), which is located 7.7 nautical miles to the south of Johor and approximately 24 nautical miles to the east of Singapore.

The island is called Pulau Batu Puteh (White Rock Island) by Malaysia and Pedra Branca by Singapore.

The dispute arose on Feb 14, 1980, when Singapore protested against the 1979 map published by Malaysia showing PBP as part of Malaysian territory. Singapore claimed the Middle Rocks and South Ledge, two marine features near the island, in February 1993.

After exhausting a few years of bilateral consultations, the two countries submitted their dispute to the ICJ on July 24, 2003.
According to the Malaysian argument, PBP, the two marine features, and other islands in and around Singapore Strait were part of the Johor Sultanate before 1824.

This situation was confirmed by the Crawfurd Treaty of 1824, which ceded to Great Britain the Island of Singapore and all islets and rocks within 10 geographical miles off Singapore, but otherwise left the territory of Johor unaffected.

Therefore, Malaysia primarily invoked the original title over the island and two marine features by the Sultan of Johor from time immemorial. The main Malaysian stand before the ICJ was that PBP was not a no man's land (terra nullius) when the British East India Company constructed the Horsburgh Lighthouse on the island and sought and obtained the permission of the sultan and Temenggong of Johor to build the lighthouse on the island. Malaysia argued that Singapore's presence on the island was merely as lighthouse administrator. Neither Great Britain nor Singapore ever exercised sovereignty over the three features.

The main Singaporean contention was that the island and two marine features were terra nullius when the British constructed the lighthouse. They argued that the construction of the lighthouse and the authorisation of the British Crown constituted a classic taking of possession of a territory as a sovereign.

Title was acquired by the British in accordance with the legal principles governing the acquisition of territory in 1851. The title acquired in 1851 has been maintained by the British and its lawful successor, Singapore, for about 150 years and during such a long period Malaysia did not make any protests apart from the first assertion of sovereignty in 1979.

Singapore, therefore, primarily relied on the taking of possession of a territory not owned by any state and the continuous, peaceful and effective exercise of state authority over it.

From the perspective of international law, this case is a competition between a claim based on original title (Malaysia) and one invoking title by means of taking possession of a terra nullius and "peaceful and continuous exercise of state authority" (Singapore).

Malaysia maintains a track record of peacefully settling differences with neighbouring countries. It is a consistent practice of Malaysia to resort to international dispute resolution only when diplomatic means such as negotiation and consultation are exhausted.

A tremendous effort was made in the preparations for the Pulau Batu Puteh case. The Malaysian legal team was led by Malaysia's Agent Tan Seri Abdul Kadir Mohamad, and Co-Agent Datuk Noor Faridah Ariffin.

Counsel and advocates for Malaysia included the (then) foreign minister of Malaysia, the attorney-general of Malaysia, and eminent international law experts such as professors James Crawford and Sir Elihu Lauterpacht QC from Cambridge University and Professor Nicolaas Jan Schrijver from Leiden University.

Head, deputy head and a strong team of federal counsel from the International Affairs Division of the A-G's Chambers were also part of the team.

The Malaysian legal team established a case that was the result of a thorough research for nearly 30 years, conducted by experts from various ministries and government departments, including academia.

The preparations for the case were the co-ordinated efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the A-G's Chambers, the National Archives of Malaysia, the Department of Survey and Mapping and the Johor government, to mention only a few.

Based on this research, the legal team prepared one of the most compelling arguments to the ICJ, consisting of Written Memorials of 172 pages, Counter Memorials of 306 pages, and Reply of 213 pages, a number of documents and maps, together with oral submissions by counsel.

Now the much awaited judgment has come out. As far as PBP itself is concerned, the ICJ first of all accepted the Malaysian contention and concluded that the Sultanate of Johor had sovereignty over the island by means of original title from time immemorial.

The ICJ, however, found that the following acts and omissions of the parties since 1953 had decisively changed the legal position:

(1) the reply by the acting state secretary of Johor to the Singaporean government that the "Johor Government does not claim ownership of Pedra Branca"; [Refer HERE]

(2) the investigation of shipwrecks by Singapore within the island's territorial waters;

(3) the permission granted or not granted by Singapore to Malaysian officials to survey the waters surrounding the islands; and,

(4) the absence of protest from Malaysia to the flying of the Singapore ensign on the island, the installation of military communications equipment on the island in 1977 and the proposed plans by Singapore to extend the island as well as a few specific publications and maps.

The ICJ concluded that sovereignty over PBP had passed to Singapore due to peaceful and continuous display of sovereign acts on the part of Singapore since 1953 and acquiescence on the part of Malaysia.

Middle Rocks and South Ledge are maritime features located at 0.6 and 2.2 nautical miles respectively from PBP. Middle Rocks consist of some rocks that are permanently above water whereas South Ledge is a low-tide elevation.

In the absence of proof to the effect that the ancient and original title of the Sultan of Johor over Middle Rocks had passed to Singapore like in the case of PBP, the ICJ adjudged that sovereignty over Middle Rocks remained with Malaysia.

Since South Ledge is a low tide elevation and not an island, a specific legal principle applies. A low tide elevation is owned by the state in the territorial waters of which it is located.

South Ledge now falls within the overlapping territorial waters of the main land Malaysia, PBP and Middle Rocks.

The ICJ was not asked by the parties to delimit their territorial waters and as there are overlapping territorial waters in the area, the ICJ left open the question of sovereignty over South Ledge, which is to be determined by the parties themselves in future by delimiting their overlapping territorial waters.

The judgment of the ICJ is based on facts and evidence and in accordance with its consistent jurisprudence.

In any legal case, a party can only prepare the best case for it. Once the judgment has come out, it is the obligation of each party to abide by it no matter what the judgment is if supremacy of law is to be observed.

Since Malaysia owns Middle Rocks, which is only 0.6 nautical miles from PBP, Singapore cannot make any unilateral decision or work to reclaim land around the island.

It is also an urgent need for the two countries to negotiate the delimitation of territorial waters in the area. Now is the time for the two countries to fully co-operate in a spirit of the utmost friendliness.

In any case, let us give credit to those who deserve it - the Malaysian legal team and those who assisted in one way or another in preparing the Malaysian case - for their hard work and a wonderful job done.

Dr Abdul Ghafur Hamid @ Khin Maung Sein is professor of international law at the International Islamic University Malaysia. He may be contacted at

Soal Jawab: Kita terlepas Batu Puteh kerana cuai

PELBAGAI reaksi diberikan banyak pihak selepas Mahkamah Keadilan Antarabangsa (ICJ) di The Hague, Belanda, memutuskan bahawa Singapura mempunyai hak kedaulatan terhadap Pulau Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca), manakala Malaysia berhak terhadap Batuan Tengah (Middle Rocks). Kedudukan Tubir Selatan (South Ledge) pula bergantung kepada persempadanan perairan negara yang menguasainya. Ada pihak melihat keputusan ICJ lebih menyebelahi Singapura dan merugikan Malaysia. Bagaimanapun, ada yang berpendapat negara tidak tewas sepenuhnya. Bagi menilai keputusan di ICJ secara menyeluruh, wartawan Berita Minggu, Ziauddin Sharuddin dan Rohaniza Idris, mendapatkan penjelasan pakar sejarah dari Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Prof Dr Nik Anuar Nik Mahmud, yang menganggotai pasukan Malaysia di The Hague dan penganalisis politik, Dr Ahmad Nidzammuddin Sulaiman, juga dari UKM.

Adakah keputusan ICJ berhubung hak kedaulatan Pulau Batu Puteh yang memihak kepada Singapura sudah dijangka berdasarkan bukti dan penghujahan?

Dalam kes Pulau Batu Puteh, saya sudah menjangka kita akan menghadapi masalah untuk mempertahankannya sejak awal lagi.

Pertama sekali kerana ialah kelemahan kita dari segi pentadbiran dan surat Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri pada 1953. Dari segi sejarah, pulau itu dan pulau lain sebenarnya adalah milik Johor. Mahkamah memperakui hak itu bersandarkan Perjanjian 1819, Mac 1824, Perjanjian Ogos 1824, Perjanjian 1927 dan sebagainya.

Bagaimanapun pada 1953, kerajaan Johor apabila ditanya oleh pihak Singapura mengenai status pulau itu menjawab bahawa pulau itu bukan milik negeri itu. Ini yang menyebabkan mahkamah menjadikan surat itu sebagai hujah untuk mengesahkan bahawa Johor sudah menyerahkan hak kedaulatan pulau itu kepada Singapura.

Adakah penghakiman ini adalah keputusan sama menang atau hanya menguntungkan sebelah pihak?

Keputusan itu adalah sesuatu yang tidak dijangka. Boleh saya katakan bahawa keputusan itu sebagai 'Blessing in Disguise' (perkara baik yang pada awalnya tidak diketahui). Kita kehilangan Pulau Batu Puteh, tetapi menang di Batuan Tengah.

Ia membolehkan nelayan Johor menangkap ikan di kawasan sekitar pulau itu yang sebelum ini adalah kawasan non grata (tidak diterima atau dialu-alukan) kepada nelayan kita.

Apakah faktor penting dalam penghakiman ICJ?

Mahkamah mengiktiraf Pulau Batu Puteh dan semua pulau di sini sebagai milik Johor. Dalam kes Pulau Batu Puteh, kita kalah kerana kecuaian kerajaan Johor dulu yang membiarkan Singapura mengurus rumah api dan pulau itu.

Kemudian pada 1953, tanpa berfikir panjang, Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri Johor mengesahkan kepada Singapura bahawa Pulau Batu Puteh bukan milik Johor
. Pengesahan itu dibuat secara hitam putih.

Kecuaian ini menyebabkan kita kehilangan pulau itu. Pengajaran penting daripada penghakiman ini kepada setiap pihak ialah belajarlah daripada sejarah. Kita perlu berhati-hati apabila membuat keputusan agar generasi akan datang tidak menanggung kerugian penderitaan.

Siasat betul-betul asal-usul sesuatu perkara dan tidak membuat keputusan dalam keadaan tergesa-gesa.

Prof sebagai sebahagian anggota pasukan Malaysia. Bagaimana situasi di kalangan anggota pasukan selepas ICJ membuat keputusan?

Saya nampak semua anggota delegasi Malaysia gembira dengan keputusan itu. Sebab itu, saya katakan keputusan mahkamah adalah `Blessing in Disguise'.

Apakah kesan penghakiman kes ini terhadap pelbagai aspek membabitkan kedua-dua negara seperti persempadanan?

Seperti saya katakan, keputusan ini adalah kejayaan yang besar ertinya kepada kita. Singapura terpaksa mengakui bahawa kawasan yang dipertikaikan itu juga hak Malaysia. Nelayan kita bebas untuk menangkap ikan di kawasan itu. Dulu nelayan dihalang dan diugut, malah ditangkap.

Sekarang mahkamah membebaskan kepungan itu. Sudah tentu isu sempadan antara Malaysia dan Singapura berikutan keputusan itu akan dikaji oleh Jawatankuasa Teknikal kedua-dua kerajaan.

Adakah sebarang pulau atau wilayah lain yang berpotensi menimbulkan pertikaian hak kedaulatan antara Malaysia dan negara jiran pada masa depan?

Pertikaian di Kepulauan Spratly masih belum selesai. Saya percaya negara yang terbabit dalam pertikaian gugusan pulau ini akan menyelesaikannya secara damai melalui proses undang-undang dan tolak ansur demi kestabilan serantau dan kesejahteraan penduduk di rantau ini.

Apakah merujuk pertikaian membabitkan wilayah atau sempadan ke ICJ adalah suatu perkembangan yang positif atau sebaliknya dalam soal perhubungan antara Malaysia dan negara jiran?

Ini adalah suatu tindakan bijak oleh pemimpin kedua-dua negara untuk mengelakkan berlaku konfrontasi bersenjata yang boleh menjejaskan keselamatan serantau.

Akhir sekali, saya ingin mengucapkan syabas kepada pasukan Malaysia atas kejayaan di ICJ. Kita terlepas Pulau Batu Puteh, tetapi mendapat Batuan Tengah (Middle Rocks). Sesungguhnya keputusan itu suatu 'Blessing in Disguise'.

Apakah kesan penghakiman ICJ yang memberikan Pulau Batu Puteh kepada Singapura dan Batuan Tengah kepada Malaysia, manakala Tubir Selatan kepada negara yang memiliki perairannya kepada hubungan antara Malaysia dan Singapura?

Kesan hubungan antara dua negara adalah tidak ketara. Hubungan Malaysia dan Singapura selama ini pun selalu pasang surut. Ada masa panas dan ada masa sangat harmoni. Isu ini akan termasuk dalam pelbagai isu yang membuatkan hubungan pasang surut itu seperti isu bekalan air, Tabung Simpanan Pekerja (CPF), Jambatan Indah dan Tanjung Pagar.

Bagaimanapun, jika dilihat dari aspek persempadanan negara dan hak perairan, ia sudah tentu sedikit sebanyak kesan yang tidak memihak kepada Malaysia atau kita tidak begitu senang. Pulau Batu Puteh kini menjadi milik Singapura sepenuhnya.

Sempadan perairan keliling pulau itu juga menjadi milik republik itu. Jika membuat penambakan tanah, pulau sebesar dua padang bola boleh menjadi 20 padang bola dan sudah tentu boleh digunakan untuk pelbagai tujuan seperti pangkalan polis marin atau tentera dan sebagainya mengikut kehendak dan kepentingan mereka.

Benarkah keputusan itu adalah sama menang, sedangkan tumpuan utama dalam kes ini ialah Pulau Batu Puteh dan bukan dua pulau lain yang lebih kecil?

Pandangan sama menang dinyatakan oleh Menteri Luar, Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim. Saya fikir kenyataan diplomatik ini mudah difahami kerana beliau mengucapkannya sebagai Menteri Luar dan bukan sebagai Dr Rais Yatim.

Beliau memiliki tanggungjawab moral dan diplomatik serta mewakili rasmi negara ini vis a vis (berdepan secara langsung) rakan sejawat dari Singapura. Bagaimanapun, sudah tentu pandangan ini tidak dapat dikongsi sepenuhnya rakyat Malaysia. Sekurang-kurangnya dari sudut sentimennya.

Pada saya sama menang hanya berlaku jika Malaysia dan Singapura berebut pulau yang tidak menjadi milik mana-mana pihak. Apabila ada dua dan diagih, setiap pihak dapat satu, barulah dianggap sebagai sama menang, tetapi semua tahu bahawa pulau itu milik Malaysia (dulu Johor) dan semua dokumen lengkap, sejarah juga membuktikannya.

Malaysia tidak membuat tuntutan, tetapi berusaha mengekalkan haknya. Singapura kemudian membuat 'tuntutan’ hasil usaha, perbelanjaan, komitmen dan sebagainya yang diberikan terhadap pulau itu selama ini.

Tiba-tiba keputusan memihak kepada Singapura dengan kelebihan ia menguruskan dan mengendalikan pelbagai alat yang ada di pulau itu dan dibenarkan oleh Malaysia. Tuntutannya berjaya. Ini yang menyebabkan saya berpandangan ia bukan keadaan sama menang, tetapi terlepas sebuah pulau milik kita akibat kealpaan sendiri.

Kita lihat juga analogi ini, umpama seorang ibu bapa yang ada banyak anak. Seorang anaknya diberi kepada seorang lain untuk dipelihara walaupun dia menyatakan bukan untuk selama-lama. Apabila sudah sampai satu peringkat umur, penjaga itu membawa ke mahkamah menuntut hak penjagaan kekal terhadap anak itu.

Sudah tentu ia menjadi satu kes yang panas. Ibu bapa asal akan kecewa dan berusaha untuk mengekalkan haknya. Ia memberi semua dokumen bahawa itu adalah anaknya seperti surat kelahiran, laporan hospital, bukti DNA, saksi bidan yang menyambut anaknya dulu dan sebagainya.

Penjaga pula akan memberi bukti seperti dia yang membesarkan anak itu. Surat tadika dan sekolah, kos penjagaan, semua bil yang sudah dijelaskan bagi pemeliharaan, kesihatan dan sebagainya. Mahkamah sudah tentu membuat keputusan demi kepentingan kanak-kanak.

Apa lagi kalau dokumen bapa asal memberi hak penjagaan itu wujud dan dapat ditunjuk di mahkamah. Dalam kes seperti ini, saya berpendapat penjaga itu yang boleh menang. Apa lagi kalau ibu bapa asal ada ramai anak dan tidak terpelihara dengan baik.

Demikianlah kes Pulau Batu Puteh itu, kita ada 10 peta bersejarah pun, ia hanya menjelaskan keadaannya dulu. Sekarang tidak lagi. Ia dipelihara oleh siapa dan komitmen yang ditunjukkan itu nyata dan tidak dapat dipersoalkan.

Malaysia sebagai sebuah negara maritim mempunyai beberapa isu pertindihan tuntutan dengan negara jiran seperti kepulauan Spratly di Laut China Selatan dan perairan Ambalat di Laut Sulawesi. Bagaimana Dr melihat setiap kes tuntutan berkenaan?

Persaingan merebut sumber ekonomi, terutama minyak dan menguasai jalan laut serta ketenteraan.

Dalam kes Spratly, Malaysia memang membuat tuntutan. Saya tidak fikir (pendapat peribadi) kita pernah mendudukinya atau ada kampung lama milik rakyat Malaysia di situ. Cuma kita berasakan kepulauan itu berada dalam zon kita dan berhak membuat tuntutan.

Perairan Ambalat memang seperti berada antara Malaysia dan Indonesia. Ia juga perlu dibawa ke pengadilan. Sudah tentu semua pulau ini penting bagi kita, sekurang-kurangnya dari sudut kedaulatan, maruah dan sempadan kita. Selain itu, dari sudut keluasan sempadan, sumber alam, perikanan dan sebagainya.

Ia menyulitkan apabila kita berdepan jiran tetangga, bukan pihak lain yang asing. Apabila ia juga menjadi tuntutan dengan jiran ini, kita terpaksa menghadapinya. Seharusnya Batu Puteh menjadi pengajaran untuk tuntutan ini. Tidak semestinya bertindak agresif seperti negara lain.

Apakah keputusan penghakiman kes ini akan mendorong Malaysia atau negara lain terus menggunakan pendekatan undang-undang untuk menyelesaikan isu persempadanan?

Malaysia bukan negara yang mengamalkan dasar konfrontasi atau kekerasan. Sejak zaman konfrontasi dengan Indonesia dulu, masalah pengganas komunis di sempadan Thailand, isu Sabah dengan Filipina, Pulau Batu Puteh dan lain-lain, semuanya dilalui dengan cara diplomatik dan perundangan.

Saya percaya Malaysia akan menggunakan cara ini seterusnya kelak. Berdasarkan pengalaman kes Batu Puteh dan Sipadan-Ligitan, saya percaya negara jiran juga akan menggunakan kaedah ini. Cuma cara mendekatinya berbeza.

Ada negara yang bertindak agresif dulu, meletakkan tentera, menghalau rakyat lain mendekatinya dan kemudian baru bersetuju pergi ke Mahkamah Keadilan Antarabangsa. Pendekatan Machiavellian seperti ini nampaknya membuahkan hasil kepadanya dengan penggunaan tenteranya.

Apakah yang mungkin berlaku jika negara yang terbabit dalam tuntutan bertindih tidak memilih pergi ke ICJ?

Jika sesebuah negara kuat dari segi ketenteraan dan mendapat sokongan kuasa besar, negara begini akan mempunyai kelebihan. Negara ini akan mengekalkan dan sanggup bertindak secara ketenteraan sekali gus merugikan negara yang lebih lemah dan enggan bertindak cara ini.

Negara lain akan terus mengecam, menggesa dan mendesak, tetapi sudah tentu ia tidak menyelesaikan masalah. Banyak negara besar yang menguasai pulau kecil menggunakan kekuatan tentera untuk mengekalkan pulau seperti Pulau Falklands.

Di kawasan tuntutan bertindih yang berpotensi memiliki banyak sumber minyak, bolehkah negara yang bersaing bekerjasama?

Idealnya begitulah. Berkongsi usaha dan hasil, tetapi kita tidak hidup dalam dunia yang ideal seperti itu. Apabila berada dalam kedudukan bertindih dan mengetahui sumbernya lumayan, sudah tentu ia direbut oleh pihak yang mendekatinya.

Cuma kerjasama yang diharapkan ialah untuk bersetuju menyelesaikan secara rundingan atau membawa ke pengadilan antarabangsa. Kalau dapat berunding secara aman dan mengambil keputusan secara sama menang, ini adalah lebih baik berbanding ke mahkamah. Belanja pun banyak dapat dijimatkan dan hubungan dua hala dengan negara berkenaan juga terus harmoni - Berita Harian

S'pore cannot act unilaterally in greater Batu Puteh area now

KOTA TINGGI, Sun - The split decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last Friday means that Singapore cannot act at its discretion in the greater area of Pulau Batu Puteh, the island over which it now has sovereignty, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said today.

He said the ICJ judgment also gave Malaysia sovereignty over Middle Rocks, located close to Pulau Batu Puteh, and as such Malaysia could exercise its right over the waters of Middle Rocks.

"Now Malaysia can conduct activities in the area (of the Middle Rocks), unlike previously when we could not do anything there,”
he said.

Syed Hamid, who was previously foreign minister, spoke to reporters after an anti-drug activity in his Kota Tinggi parliamentary constituency.

He said Malaysians, particularly fishermen, could go to Middle Rocks now because it belonged to Malaysia.

The ICJ, in its judgment delivered on Friday to end the 28-year-old dispute over Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, awarded sovereignty over Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore and sovereignty over Middle Rocks to Malaysia and ruled that South Ledge belonged to the country in the territorial waters of which it was located.

Syed Hamid said senior officials of both countries would have to work out the procedures and regulations pertaining to various matters, including security patrols and navigation in the waters of Pulau Batu Puteh and Middle Rocks.

The joint technical committee which would implement the decision of the ICJ would have to demarcate the continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of both countries in those waters, he added.

"Either side cannot act unilaterally,” he said, adding that the

“Eye-in-the-Sky” patrol of the Malacca Straits could be emulated for navigational cooperation in those waters.

Meanwhile, Syed Hamid said his ministry was formulating new legislation on the prohibition of glue-sniffing and consumption of “ketum” leaves, and parliament was expected to approve the new bill at the end of the year - NST

Singapura tidak lagi bersendirian di Pulau Batu Puteh: Syed Hamid

KOTA TINGGI: Keputusan Mahkamah Keadilan Antarabangsa (ICJ) di The Hague, Belanda mengenai hak kedaulatan Pulau Batu Puteh, Terumbu Karang Tengah dan Terumbu Karang Selatin, Jumaat lalu, menunjukkan Singapura kini tidak boleh bertindak sewenang-wenangnya di perairan itu sebagaimana yang dilakukannya sebelum ini, kata Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

Menteri Dalam Negeri itu berkata, keputusan ICJ memberikan Malaysia kedaulatan mutlak terhadap Terumbu Karang Tengah membuktikan negara mempunyai hak terhadap perairan di kawasan itu.

"Keputusan ICJ itu bermakna Singapura tidak lagi bersendirian di kawasan perairan berkenaan. Malaysia juga berhak terhadap kawasan perairan terbabit. Kini kita boleh menjalankan aktiviti di kawasan itu, berbanding dahulu di mana kita tidak boleh langsung (menjalankan aktiviti),” katanya kepada pemberita selepas merasmikan majlis Gerak Gempur Dadah Parlimen Kota Tinggi di sini, hari ini.

Katanya, warga Malaysia terutamanya nelayan kini boleh pergi ke Terumbu Karang Tengah kerana ia adalah hak milik negara ini.

Syed Hamid berkata beliau memahami ada perasaan sedih dengan kehilangan Pulau Batu Puteh, tetapi keputusan ICJ dua hari lalu itu juga turut mengandungi hikmah kepada Malaysia.

Singapura ketika mengemukakan kesnya kepada ICJ, kata beliau mahukan kedaulatan dan pemilikan terhadap Pulau Batu Puteh, Terumbu Karang Tengah dan Terumbu Karang Selatin, tetapi akhirnya hanya mendapat Pulau Batu Puteh manakala Malaysia diberi hak terhadap Terumbu Karang Tengah.

Republik itu sejak dahulu lagi meletakkan kapal peronda angkatan tenteranya di sekitar perairan ketiga-tiga struktur maritim berkenaan dan menghalau mana-mana pihak termasuk nelayan negara ini daripada menghampiri perairan di sekitarnya.

Nelayan Malaysia, katanya kini boleh menjadikan Terumbu Karang Tengah, yang terletak berhampiran dengan Pulau Batu Puteh itu sebagai kawasan perlindungan ketika cuaca buruk.

Syed Hamid berkata, pegawai kanan kedua-dua negara kini perlu berbincang dan merangka prosedur dan peraturan berkaitan pelbagai perkara termasuk kawalan keselamatan dan navigasi pelayaran kerana perairan di situ sudah menjadi perairan bersama.

Jawatankuasa Teknikal kedua-dua negara yang akan melaksanakan keputusan ICJ, katanya perlu merangka peta pelantar benua dan kawasan Zon Ekonomi Eksklusif (EEZ) kedua-dua negara di kawasan perairan itu - Bernama

Nelayan mahu kepastian untuk hampiri Terumbu Karang Tengah

KOTA TINGGI: Kira-kira 1,500 nelayan di Pengerang masih tertanya-tanya bagaimana mereka boleh mendekati Terumbu Karang Tengah yang kini disahkan menjadi milik Malaysia, untuk turun menangkap ikan di situ.

"Kita harap pihak berkuasa menyediakan panduan dari segi sempadan maritim atau garisan grid bagi memastikan nelayan kita tidak tersasar memasuki kawasan yang baru diputuskan itu,” kata Pengerusi Persatuan Nelayan Pengerang, Abu Bakar Mohamad.

“Pada ketika ini keadaan masih kabur dengan nelayan masih belum bersedia untuk menangkap ikan di Terumbu Karang Tengah kerana mereka bimbang ditahan oleh kapal peronda Singapura,” katanya kepada Bernama.

Abu Bakar berkata, bagi nelayan di Pengerang yang mahu ke Terumbu Karang Tengah, mereka akan melalui perairan Pulau Batu Puteh terlebih dulu dan kedudukan ini sudah tentu bakal memberi masalah kepada mereka.

Katanya, pihak Singapura sudah tentu tidak akan membenarkan sesiapa pun menghampiri perairan Pulau Batu Puteh yang kini diisytiharkan sebagai milik mereka - Bernama