I almost fell off my chair, not because I was extremely sad that Malaysia lost her island but from the extreme laugh, probably one of funniest episodes – the verdict of 28-year territorial dispute on a small island. The International Court of Justice’s 12-4 decision in favor of Singapore on Pulau Batu Puteh (known as Pedra Branca to Singapore) was actually a slap on Malaysia’s face, considering that the small island is merely 7.7 nautical miles from Malaysia but is a whopping 25.5 nautical miles from Singapore. The fact is Malaysia has just lost her sovereignty on Pedra Branca.
What made the whole thing amusing was that Malaysia Foreign Minister Rais Yatim actually has the cheek to declare it was a win-win situation. You meant you prefer some rocks over an island, never mind the dispute area consists of only 8,560 square meters? Whether you like it or not Pedra Branca is an island, thus the name “Pulau” Batu Puteh. No wonder Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was pleased with the verdict because Singapore won an island while Malaysia won some rocks. That’s right! Malaysia won Middle Rocks which loosely translated to rocks – that’s how the name Middle Rocks comes into the picture in the first place, no?
And why did Malaysia lost the island? There’re three reasons but the main and most important reason was a reply from a Johor state official saying that the state did not have sovereignty over the island. International Court of Justice case acting President Judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh, when delivering the court’s decision in The Hague yesterday, said Johor initially had sovereignty over the island but subsequently lost its ownership to Singapore because of above reasons. I’m speechless but I only can conclude that Malaysia deserve it because of laziness and stupidity. Too lazy to respond to Singapore’s conduct on the island and too stupid in sending a reply denying sovereignty which costs the island.
Malaysia did not only lose the island but also all natural resources and minerals in the territorial waters of Pedra Branca. But could the result be any difference if Malaysia engaged better lawyers. Singapore engaged two top international lawyers – Professor Alain Pellet of the University of Paris X-Naterre and Queen’s Counsel Ian Brownlie. On the other hand, the team from Malaysia comprising Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail and his son Federal Counsel Faezul Adzra Gani Patail had to resort to using a blog’s unverified photo of Pedra Branca (Right) to present their case to the judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The blog was said to be newly created and the jokes were that Malaysia was so complacent (arrogant?) and ill-prepared that they have to resort to present false evidence.
Maybe Malaysia government thought it could win the case easily since the top brain AG Abdul Gani Patail was leading the team. Furthermore how many lawyers in the world could make a public announcement that only three people and no others are involved in the murder case (Altantuya), even before the trial started? If this was not a show-case of top-brains I do not know what is *grin*. Perhaps Malaysia Attorney General should be confined to domestic case only such as to suppress oppositions or anyone who dare to question the government’s policy and nothing else. That was the AG’s specialization area so do what he was good at. What a bunch of arrogant “Jaguh Kampung” or Village Champions – simply unbelievable!