Editor: I’m just back from Vint Cerf’s talk and a little tired, so if things do not make sense here, I hope tomorrow’s post will. =)

Was it expected? I’m not sure. Perhaps it might be, perhaps not. However, since it was one of the outcomes possible, I would think that Singapore would have been mentally prepared. If you are not sure what I am referring to, it’s about Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh) that I am talking about. There was a dispute on who should really own the rock and this was brought up to the ICJ to decide who has sovereignty over it. Me, for one, really didn’t expect this kind of outcome.

Singapore lost…

Singapore lost 2 of the outer rocks to Malaysia (known as Middle Rocks) as well as a 3rd rock (known as South Ledge), while retaining the main island (Pedra Branca). This is probably ICJ’s idea of win-win situation. I have not seen the size of the 2 rocks, but if they were big enough, Malaysia could install surveillance system on the rocks to monitor what Singapore is up to. With all the recent happenings in Malaysia, I won’t be surprised if they stoop to this.

I wonder what impact this has on Malaysian PM Abdullah Bedawi.

A 28-YEAR-OLD tussle for sovereignty over Pedra Branca and its outcrops came to an end on Friday when the International Court of Justice (ICJ) awarded the main island to Singapore, and two smaller outcrops nearby to Malaysia.

The court did not make a definitive ruling on the third rock of contention, South Ledge which is visible only at low tide. It belongs to whoever owns the territorial waters it sits in, said the court.

The judgment was telecast live in both countries, and when Judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh concluded his two-hour statement at 6pm, Singaporeans and Malaysians alike applauded the decision.

Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar told reporters at The Hague: ‘We are pleased with the judgment because the court has awarded sovereignty over Pedra Branca, which is the main feature in dispute, to Singapore.’

Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Rais Yatim described it as a ‘win-win’ judgment and said that both countries would ‘forge ahead’ in their bilateral relationship.

In Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong declared he was pleased with the result, saying that resorting to the ICJ was ‘a good way for (the two countries) to resolve disagreements or problems while maintaining good relations with each other’

In Malaysia, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak called it a ‘balanced decision’, with Malaysia ‘partly successful’ in its territorial claims.

The two hours at the ICJ were suspense-filled and had the Singapore delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar, at the edge of their seats for much of the time.

For the first hour, it actually seemed as if the court would find in Malaysia’s favour.

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 24th May 2008



Reader's Comments

  1. xy | May 24th, 2008 at 1:09 am

    Those 2 rocks can hardly be seen during a low tide. =)

  2. xizor2000 | May 24th, 2008 at 1:59 am

    The lighthouse and whatever on it is all that matters to Singapore. After all, the lighthouse and whatever ELINT facilities on Pedra Blanca is all that matters to Singapore. At the very least, Singapore now retains control of the very facility that monitors all that approaches from the South China sea.

    Losing those other rocks that is submerged underwater during high tide is of no consequence to this country.

  3. Alfred | May 24th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Middle Rocks and South Ledge are obviously used by Singapore to appease Malaysia and avoid ugly confrontation between two nations in event that Singapore wins the island of Pedra Branca.

    Singapore only added in these rocks in 1993. I think somebody has a good foresight and asked the rocks to be included together with island of Pedra Branca.

    It was Singapore who suggested to take the case to ICJ in 1989.

    If you look around, you would notice not much arguements over these rocks by Singapore team which devoted much of arguement on island of Pedra Branca.

    So this genius probably calculated the outcome and predicted that the rocks would eventually go to Malaysia. Candid move.

  4. Ismail | May 25th, 2008 at 9:25 am

    The ICJ decisions are bad news for both countries. Pulau Batu Putih and Middle Rocks are so close together. The gap between them is shorter than Orchard Road. It is possible for people on both inlets to hear and shout at each other. South Ledge is definitely on Malaysian Side. Try drawing a map incorporating Pulau Batu Putih and South Legdge, but excluding Middle Rocks. It will look very funny. Therefore, it is as good as saying that South Ledge belongs to Malaysia. Unless, of course, Indonesia see rooms to join the fun. This irritating disputes would not have happened if Singapore did no arrogantly left Malaysia. People who have experienced going through divorce must appreciate the problems what the two countries are giong through. The two countries are so intertwined together, historically and culturally and need each other so much economicaly. It is sad that Singapore left Malaysia for minor political differences.

  5. Tianhong | May 25th, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Singapore left Malaysia for minor political differences? if we had stayed, would our life be better in any way?

  6. shen long | May 26th, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Malaysia is indeed a good neighbour, water…without it we will end up drinking our own urine.

  7. AS Roma | May 27th, 2008 at 2:25 am

    Singapore got an island, M’sia two rocks, read UN convention as to what this means.

  8. AS Roma | May 27th, 2008 at 2:27 am

    REGIME OF ISLANDS
    Article 121
    Regime of islands
    1. An island is a naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water,
    which is above water at high tide.
    2. Except as provided for in paragraph 3, the territorial sea, the
    contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf of an
    island are determined in accordance with the provisions of this Convention
    applicable to other land territory.
    3. Rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of
    their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.

  9. Alif | June 20th, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Anyway Singaporean have to cross Malaysia Border to get to Pedra Branca..

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