Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Usul tergempar bahas Batu Puteh ditolak

KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat hari ini menolak usul bagi membahaskan kedaulatan Batu Puteh yang diputuskan milik Singapura oleh Mahkamah Keadilan Antarabangsa (ICJ) yang dibawa Salahuddin Ayub (Pas-Kubang Kerian).

Speaker Dewan Rakyat, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, berkata usul berkenaan ditolak kerana ia tidak perlu disegerakan kerana Malaysia sudah bersetuju dengan keputusan ICJ.

Beliau berkata sebelum menolak usul berkenaan ia sudah diteliti terlebih dulu dan perasaan Salahuddin adalah perasaan semua anggota dewan.

"Jadi keputusan itu (mengenai Batu Puteh) hendaklah kita ambil sebagai iktibar. Kita turut bersedih dan kekalahan (di ICJ) mungkin atas perkara teknikal sahaja.

"Saya mohon maaf kerana tidak dapat melayan usul yang dibangkitkan. Saya dah timbang dengan baik. Tak cukupkah dengan perkataan iktibar itu Yang Berhormat (merujuk kepada Salahuddin),” katanya.

Salahuddin kemudian bangun dan membangkitkan Peraturan Mesyuarat 18(3)(b) yang menyatakan bahawa 15 orang boleh bangun menyokong usul berkenaan sekiranya Speaker tidak menerimanya.

Seketika kemudian hampir semua anggota pembangkang yang berada di dalam persidangan bangun menyokong usul yang dikemukakan oleh Salahuddin berkenaan.

Bagaimanapun, Pandikar berkata peraturan mesyuarat itu tidak berbangkit kerana dia sudah menolak usul berkenaan.

"Adakalanya saya berpuas hati misalnya isu beras (baru-baru ini). Kalau ada peluang nanti boleh bertanyakan semasa menteri menjawab pada penggulungan,” katanya.

Salahuddin dua kali merayu supaya Pandikar menimbangkan semula keputusannya dan mengatakan jika ia dibawa mengikut Peraturan Mesyuarat 43 kesegeraannya akan hilang.

"Saya merayu atas nama rakyat, atas nama negara supaya ia dibahaskan. Kita mahu kesegeraan ini diambil segera. Perlu ditulis dalam sejarah dan hansard bahawa negara ini sedih dengan kehilangan pulau itu,” katanya — Bernama

Bid for island debate rejected

AN Opposition MP’s attempt to table an emergency motion to debate the loss of Batu Puteh to Singapore was rejected by Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

Salahuddin Ayub (PAS - Kubang Kerian) had sought permission to discuss the weaknesses of the Malaysian legal team in handling the case and the possible consequences to other overlapping claims by Malaysia and other outstanding issues with Singapore.

Pandikar Amin said while the matter was specific and of public interest, it was not urgent because Malaysia had agreed with the International Court of Justice's decision - The Star

Island lost because of weak team, says PAS

PAS has expressed dissatisfaction with the “weak” arguments of the Malaysian lawyers over the claim of Batu Puteh at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Its vice-president Nasharuddin Mat Isa said the weak arguments had resulted in Malaysia’s sovereignty of the island being taken over by Singapore.

“There was a lack of evidence to prop up our claims. Singapore, being awarded the island, will certainly bring a lot of hardship for our fishermen in Johor waters.

“We had a weak team of lawyers to fight our case,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here yesterday.

PAS, he added, would be explaining this issue to its members and rakyat all over the country.

Nasharuddin said PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub would attempt to table an emergency motion under 18(1) of the Parliament Standing Orders on the issue.

On another matter, Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan urged the Government to move into another island, where Singapore still maintains a lighthouse, and develop it.

This, he added was to avoid “banana trees from fruiting twice” as Singapore could move to stake a claim to Pulau Pisang, located some 5km from the coast of Pontian, Johor.

“Why should Singapore be allowed to keep the lighthouse there? Wisma Putra told me that under the present agreement, Singapore is allowed to maintain the lighthouse as long as it is still being used and for as long as there are stars and moon.

“But in this day and age, no ship uses a lighthouse and all of them now rely on global positioning system and radar to guide them. So what’s the use of the lighthouse?” he said - The Star

Ghani: Malaysia has proof of Pulau Pisang ownership

JOHOR BARU: There is no danger of losing Pulau Pisang to Singapore as Malaysia clearly has sovereignty over the island.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said that this was despite Singapore operating a lighthouse on the 154ha island.

He said the ownership of the island was based on a treaty between Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Abu Bakar and the British in 1900, which clearly stated that Malaysia had sovereignty over the island.

Malaysian territory: This August 1998 file picture shows former Pontian MP Datuk Dr Hasni Mohammad pointing at Pulau Pisang.

“Our land office records show that Pulau Pisang belongs to Johor,” he said.

Abdul Ghani was responding to a suggestion made by Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan that the Government should conduct a study on taking over the operation of the lighthouse.

Ahmad said Pulau Pisang might suffer a similar fate as Batu Puteh where the International Court of Justice ruled in favour of Singapore.

Abdul Ghani said the lighthouse, which guided ships into the Singapore Straits, was manned by four Singaporean guards.

“The guards are relieved by another team once a fortnight and are required to report to the marine department, Customs and immigration in Kukup every time they arrive and depart from the island,” he said.

He added that Malaysians were allowed to enter the island but were prohibited from entering the lighthouse.

Abdul Ghani said there were also 82 farmers who tend to orchards on the island.

“They are only given permission to work on the land but are not granted ownership of the land,” he said.

The island is about 12km from Pontian Kechil and 5km from Benut.

Meanwhile, Johor PAS officials lodged a police report against former foreign minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Abdul Ghani and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, accusing them of causing Malaysia to lose Batu Puteh.

Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Yaakob confirmed that the report had been received.

Perak Puteri Umno chief Dr Wan Norashikin Wan Noordin, meanwhile, said Malaysia must take the necessary steps to ensure she irrefutably owned all her islands and territories.

She said the steps were crucial in view of the recent decision on Batu Puteh.

DAP chairman Karpal Singh said the Malaysian Government was “foolhardy to have placed the case before ICJ” without the necessary evidence.

He was referring to Malaysian ambassador-at-large Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Mohamad’s statement that he could not locate a letter sent by a British governor in Butterworth to the Johor Temenggong seeking permission to build the Horsburgh Lighthouse on Batu Puteh.

Abdul Kadir led the Malaysian team to The Hague.

“Discovery of the letter now or in future cannot restore Malaysia’s sovereignty over Batu Puteh,” he said - The Star

Apathy made us lose Pulau Batu Puteh

AS mature nations Malaysia and Singapore have earned the respect of the international community for accepting the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision on Singapore’s claim to Pulau Batu Puteh made on May 23. The decision was accepted in good faith with no untoward incident by citizens of both countries.

Nevertheless, for Malaysia it is a lesson well learnt that should not be repeated. Due to carelessness, apathy and goodwill Malaysia inadvertently handed Pulau Batu Puteh on a silver platter to Singapore.

My short stint at our country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs handling the Singapore desk has given me an insight into the psychological psyche of how Singapore operates or rather tick with precision as follows:

  • The siege mentality strengthens their will for survival. Being an island republic, they have to expand physically outward and upward. Any unoccupied landmass, island or coral reef provides an opportunity for expansion.

  • Their will to survive have made their leaders very focussed in projecting and planning for the future. Their diplomats are handpicked and well trained in the art of diplomacy and they don’t take bilateral relations for granted.

I once had an outing with Singapore diplomats at the Press Club. Over drinks they casually brought up the topic of Pulau Batu Puteh. I remembered vividly the conversation:

“What’s the situation on Pedra Branca?” asked my Singapore counterparts. I responded humorously “Are you referring to the Portuguese lady?” And all of us had a good laugh.

The moral of the story is that Singapore diplomats are well trained to gather information at all occasions. To them any outing is business and has great implication to Singapore’s survival.

I hope the ICJ decision has opened the eyes of Malaysian leaders and officials in not taking the country’s sovereignty for granted. Being nice, accommodating and tidak apa has its limits.

I sympathise with the fishermen of Tenggarang, Johor who have now forever lost their traditional resting place at Pulau Batu Puteh.

Gombak, Selangor.

Debate diverted to loss of island


DEBATE on a motion to re-distribute allocation from two defunct departments got sidetracked after both backbenchers and the Opposition voiced their dissatisfaction over the outcome of the Batu Puteh case.

It is our failure to keep proper historical documents that has led us to lose Pulau Batu Puteh - DR PUAD ZARKASHI (BN - BATU PAHAT)

Leading the pack was Dr Puad Zarkashi (BN – Batu Pahat), who decried the lack of proper documentation on the part of the Government leading to the loss of the island to Singapore.

“We must make sure that each department under the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry receives fair attention.

“For instance, on the question of heritage, it is our failure to keep proper historical documents that has led us to lose Pulau Batu Puteh. It’s such an important task but we neglected to do so.

“We have to set up a historical documentation centre so this does not happen again,” he said.

On Friday, the International Court of Justice decided that Singapore had ownership of Pulau Batu Puteh while Malaysia had sovereignty over Middle Rocks which lies to the south.

Ambassador-at-large Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Mohamad had voiced his frustration over his failure to find a letter said to be from the British governor in Butterworth to the Johor Temenggong seeking permission to build the Horsburgh Lighthouse on the island.

Dr Puad said as a Johorean, he felt very disappointed by the decision, urging the Government not to continue “bowing” to Singapore’s pressure over certain unresolved issues such as the Central Provident Fund contributions, the use of air space and water treaties.

Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR – Permatang Pauh) said the Government should be careful of referring overlapping territorial claims to the ICJ.

“The decision is most often not based on justice but on the current world political climate. Let this be a lesson to us,” she said.

Mahfuz Omar (PAS – Pokok Sena) said the Attorney-General’s chambers should have done its research properly before laying their case before the ICJ.

“How can this be a win-win situation for us? How does this guarantee the safety of our fishermen?” he said.

Hamim Samuri (BN – Ledang) said the Government should be more wary of Singapore’s actions in the future.

In his reply, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the Government had indeed learnt its lesson from the Pulau Batu Puteh incident and had started monitoring activities on islands in its waters.

“The National Archives Department has also set up a special unit to collect our historical documents. However, it depends on government agencies to provide it with these documents,” he pointed out.

The motion, which was to re-disburse a total of RM1.12bil allocation meant for the defunct Internal Security Ministry and the Unity Department under the Prime Minister’s Department, was passed - The Star

Ambil iktibar keputusan kes Batu Puteh: TPM

Oleh Magendran Rajagopal dan Srihanasham Noordin

KUALA LUMPUR: Semua agensi kerajaan perlu menjadikan keputusan Mahkamah Keadilan Antarabangsa (ICJ) memberi Singapura hak kedaulatan ke atas Batu Puteh minggu lalu sebagai pengajaran dan memastikan Malaysia tidak lagi kehilangan mana-mana kawasan miliknya pada masa depan.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, berkata pihak bertanggungjawab harus mengambil iktibar daripada kehilangan Batu Puteh dan bertindak proaktif bagi memastikan kedaulatan negara tidak lagi terhakis dengan apa cara sekalipun pada masa depan.

"Apa yang berlaku di Batu Puteh adalah kerana kealpaan dan apa yang tidak kita lakukan bagi mempertahankannya selama ini.

"Kini menjadi tanggungjawab semua agensi kerajaan memastikan kejadian seumpama ini tidak berulang dan kedaulatan kita tidak dicabar," katanya dalam sidang media selepas mengadakan perjumpaan dengan kem komandan Pusat Latihan Khidmat Negara (PLKN), di sini semalam.

Penghakiman ICJ Jumaat lalu memberikan Singapura hak kedaulatan terhadap Batu Puteh dan Malaysia sebagai pemilik Batuan Tengah manakala kedudukan terumbu karang ketiga yang dikenali Tubir Selatan tidak ditentukan oleh ICJ.

Sehubungan itu, orang ramai yang menyuarakan kebimbangan akan ada pulau lain yang selama ini dianggap milik negara akan menerima nasib sama seperti Batu Puteh, umpamanya Pulau Pisang dan Pulau Merambong di Johor.

Penyelidik kanan Institut Maritim Malaysia (MIMA), Kapten Rakish Suppiah, berkata negara mungkin kehilangan kira-kira 100 pulau, batuan serta struktur-struktur maritim yang lain jika tiada tindakan diambil untuk mengesahkan kedaulatannya.

"Kita perlu sentiasa memantau dan melakukan rondaan di kawasan ini bagi memastikan tiada negara lain cuba mendirikan apa-apa struktur atau menjalankan sebarang kegiatan dan menjadikannya asas untuk menuntut hak di masa depan," katanya ketika dihubungi semalam.

Setakat ini, negara mempunyai lima pulau dengan keluasan melebihi 200 kilometer (km) persegi, 68 pulau di bawah 200 km persegi yang mempunyai penempatan manusia, empat pulau yang ditakrif taman laut atau kawasan perlindungan marin.

Selain itu, ratusan lagi terumbu karang atau pulau kecil yang tidak berpenghuni belum ditentukan milik siapa kerana sempadan perairan tidak jelas atau terletak dalam kawasan perairan antarabangsa - Berita Harian

Bumburing: Act fast to solve illegal immigrant issue

THE GOVERNMENT must quickly solve the problem of illegal Filipino immigrants in Sabah especially in the light of a challenge made by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to contest the ownership of Sabah in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Datuk Wilfred Bumburing (BN-Tuaran), said with so much focus on the Batu Puteh case in the ICJ, it would be wise for the Government to be seen to be doing something about the problem in Sabah.

“If we are not careful, we will lose a much bigger piece of land than Batu Puteh or the Middle Rocks,” he said when responding to Ibrahim Ali’s (Ind-Pasir Mas) comments about the ICJ’s recent decision when debating the Supplementary Supply Bill.

“Sabah MPs have raised this problem time and again and the Government must take note of the immigrant issue,” he said, adding that the Philippine’s claim to Sabah is still there.

Bumburing said that Malaysia was still paying the Sultan of Sulu a certain amount of money every year.

Outside the Dewan, Bumburing said some of the immigrants have become entrenched in Sabah, adding that the number of Filipinos in Sabah was unknown.

“This is why we need a Royal Commission of Inquiry,” he said.

Reports in Philippine online news portals quoted Moro leader Nur Misuari as saying on Saturday that the amount of money (about RM5,000) paid by Sabah to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu was “pittance”.

Misuari said the Sabah issue should be brought to the ICJ for resolution - The Star