Apparently, Malaysia had to resort to obtain a photograph from a blog to present their case in court over the ownership of Pedra Branca. However, the blog looked somewhat like a fly-by-night blog create specially for the International Court case that seems to aid Malaysia in their fight for the island. You really have to see it to know what I mean.

I was somewhat wondering – how can Malaysia – such a big country with so much resources (including good photographers), rely on a photograph from a blog to present their case to the courts? So I visited the site, and the first post (earliest) where there was was just a picture of Pedra Branca, highlighted the proximity of the island to Malaysia (first picture). Another picture that had the same landmark in the photo had an opposite effect (second picture).

Here are the photos for your comments:

pedra1

pedra2

The first one was the evidence submitted by the Malaysian side, with a photo supposedly obtained from http://www.leuchtturm3.blogspot.com/. The first and last post of the blog showed pictures of Pedra Branca with its Malaysian name.

The second picture was the photo submitted by the Singapore side, that showed a diminished island in the background.

In view of such discrepancies, Simply Jean decided to do some investigative work. So, she searched the Internet for sentences located in the middle of a paragraph for plagarism. Heh heh… people who plagarise usually change the fronts and ends of a paragraph of *insignificant* portions – and this is where the evidence lies!!!

This was what I found from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lighthouse):

evidence1a

evidence1b

This is what’s from the blog :

evidence2a

There’s nothing wrong with copying from Wikipedia, but when you decide to copy from Wikipedia, and don’t credit it, and changed the wordings, then that’s… not very right.

Can you sport the differences between the highlight paragraphs?

Answer: the author of the blog changed the name of Cape May Lighthouse to Pulau Batu Puteh Lighthouse. Actually, if you click on the link at Pulau Batu Puteh Lightouse, it goes to Cape May Lighthouse at Wikipedia. That’s where the cat is out of the bag.

Well, I actually have not much interest in this court case, but, when they decided to bring the blogosphere into the news, then I felt that I had to do some justification for the community.

To the author (and all other implied parties), you suck.

IN THE HAGUE – AT A glance, the two pictures look alike. Both have Horsburgh Lighthouse and Pedra Branca in the foreground.

But look again – at the background which shows the Johor mainland, with Point Romania and a hill named Mount Berbukit. In one picture the hill is highly visible; in the other, it is hardly visible.

Therein lies the photographic illusion that Malaysia had created to exaggerate the closeness of Pedra Branca to Johor, Singapore said yesterday at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

The first photograph, which Malaysia had shown the court last week, was taken by a camera using a telephoto lens.

The second photograph was taken by Singapore, using a camera lens that approximates what the human eye sees. As a result, the Malaysian photograph exaggerated the height of Mount Berbukit by about seven times, Singapore’s Attorney-General Chao Hick Tin said when he presented the two photos before the court.

He described it as ‘an attempt to convey a subliminal message of proximity between Pedra Branca and the coast of Johor’.But it was not an accurate reflection of what visitors to Pedra Branca would see if they were looking towardsthe Johor mainland, he said.

Mr Chao was speaking before the ICJ as the hearing over the Pedra Branca dispute enters the third week. Yesterday was the first day of Singapore’s rebuttals against Malaysia’s oral arguments made last week.

Both countries are appearing at the ICJ to resolve their dispute over the sovereignty of the island 40km east of Singapore and which stands at the eastern entrance of the Singapore Strait.

Last week, Malaysia had also claimed the photo in question was taken from an online blog or weblog. The implication was the photo came from an independent source.

But yesterday, Mr Chao raised questions about the blog.

‘This blog site is a most unusual one. It was created only last month. There is no information on the identity of the blogger and the photograph used by Malaysia was only put on the website on Nov 2 2007, four days before the start of these oral proceedings,’ he said.

Mr Chao also sought to debunk Malaysia’s claim that Pedra Branca was near Point Romania in Johor. The phrase ‘near Point Romania’ was used in an 1844 letter from the Temenggong of Johor to Governor Butterworth in Singapore.

In that letter, the Temenggong gave permission for the British to build a lighthouse on any island near Point Romania.

Malaysia claimed the phrase included Pedra Branca, and that the letter showed Britain acknowledged Johor’s sovereignty over the island.

Mr Chao said the letter did not refer to Pedra Branca but to Peak Rock which, in 1844, was where the British planned to build a lighthouse.

He pointed out the distance between Pedra Branca and Point Romania was six times that between the latter and Peak Rock.

In an 1846 letter, Governor Butterworth explained his original preference for Peak Rock as the site of a lighthouse because Pedra Branca was ‘at so great a distance from the main land’.

Singapore’s rebuttals yesterday were launched by Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar. He highlighted five ‘baseless allegations and insinuations’ that Malaysia had lobbed against Singapore and rebutted each in turn.

Among them was Malaysia’s charge that Singapore wished to ‘subvert’ long-established arrangements in the Singapore Strait.

On the contrary, he said, it was Kuala Lumpur that tried to alter the status quo through the publication of a map in 1979 that altered its maritime boundaries with seven of its neighbours.

That was also the map that sparked the current dispute.

Prof Jayakumar said he was disappointed that Malaysia had resorted to such allegations in its bid to win the case. ‘We should seek to win by stating objective facts and submitting persuasive legal arguments, and not by resorting to unfounded political statements and making insinuations damaging to the integrity of the opposite party,’ he said.

lydia@sph.com.sg

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 20th November 2007



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