Friday, May 30, 2008

Pulau Batu Puteh - adakah musuh dalam selimut?

Malaysiakini has published Gov't ready for 'tussle' over Sabah, in which it tells us that, according to Rais Yatim the new Foreign Minister, our government may face the possibility of another Philippines' claim on Sabah.

Rais Yatim had bravely declared that Malaysia is ready with all the documents, including those on the referendum conducted by the Cobbold Commission in April 1962 ... yadda yadda yadda ...

I am not sure whether Rais Yatim is scare-mongering, but undoubtedly this 'news' will find fertile grounds especially in the wake of our legal loss (note the adjective ‘legal’ – will discuss this shortly) of Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore.

Well, a minor but important correction to the above sentence - the isle isn’t Pulau Batu Puteh anymore, now and forever more (unless we go to war with Singapore and win) – it’s Singapore’s Pedra Branca!

'… Singapore’s Pedra Branca …' – hurting, isn’t it, and we have to just suck on that humiliating and totally unnecessary loss!

'Scare-mongering' of course is a tactic (of bullsh*t patriotism) frequently adopted by parties (usually the government) to either divert attention from other 'embarrassing' issues or to marshal support around them, or both.

John Howard, former PM of Australia did it regularly when he was in charge – those who have been familiar with Australian affairs would have heard of 'SS Tampa', 'children overboard', 'Nauru' and his grandstanding statement to warm the cockles of the conservative elements of the Australian electorate, namely his gratuitous-defiant statement that 'We decide who comes to Australia', as if that wasn’t/isn’t ever the case.

There are other examples of such resorting to Samuel Jackson's 'patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel', but let’s return to the Malaysian issue of an allegedly possible rapacious Philippines’ claim for Sabah again.

In reality, the Filipino government hasn’t made such a move, as confessed by Rais Yatim himself. 'Twas only a the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who said the Bangsamoro would try all legal avenues to settle the Sabah issue peacefully, and if necessary, refer Malaysia to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over its claim to Sabah.

The MNLF is not even recognised as a sovereign power, so WTF has Rais Yatim been attempting to cook up?

Besides – and many may not realize this – one of the cornerstone of the ICJ’s respected jurisdiction is that it acts only on the basis of explicit consent of all the parties coming before it. There is no compulsory jurisdiction. Even a State like Malaysia being a party to the ICJ's Statute does not automatically give the Court jurisdiction over disputes involving Malaysia and another State like Singapore, Indonesia or the Philippines.

All these are reflected in its Statute's Article 36. The ICJ works on the basis that all the parties coming before it voluntarily have a true desire for the dispute to be resolved by the Court.

To summarise, the ICJ wouldn’t have been able to shaft the Pedra Branca decision down Malaysia’s throat. We went to the ICJ on this issue like a lamb knowing it would be sembilih (slaughtered), with the inevitability of our Batu Puteh going to Singapore.

Malaysiakini in its earlier report on our monumental ‘legal’ loss of real estate said that:

Malaysia claimed original title to Pulau Batu Puteh, while Singapore, which knows the islet as Pedra Branca argued that sovereignty had passed to it tacitly, having operated the Horsburgh Lighthouse on the island for more than 130 years without any protest from its neighbour.

The court found that the Malaysian sultanate-turned-province of Johor had held the original title but had taken ‘no action at all’ regarding the island for more than a century.

What 130 years of Singaporean operation of Horsburgh Lighthouse (pray tell?), when Singapore has only existed as a sovereign State for 43 years (since 1965)?

All those arguments had been based on the legacy of British colonialism, where the colonial power built and operated the lighthouse for the safe navigation of sea vessels into or out of its colony, once called Temasek and conned from the Johor Sultanate in 1819 by the British through its interfering/intervention in local politics, just as the Yanks are doing in Iraq for oil.

Singapore as a Crown colony had 'inherited' the lighthouse management (and by extension, the ownership) but only by default, when it was allowed by the Brits to join a new Malaysia in 1963.

Then, during a time when the world had no strategic interest in itsy bitsy puny little offshore useless pieces of rocks, when even the term Economic Exclusie Zone (EEZ) hasn’t yet been coined, a disinterested Johore official had written a letter declaring Johore had no interest in Pulau Batu Putih.

Regrettably our survey department received no ministerial policy on such issues, and had printed maps showing the isle as under Singapore’s domain. Can you ever imagine Chinese cartographers publishing maps that show Taiwan as an independent State?

No doubt (Malaya and) Malaysia had been sleeping or not far sighted enough. Yes, Singapore has had de facto ownership of the isle. But why did we have to take an already lost case to the ICJ where we are now bound by its verdict. Pulau Batu Putih is now LEGALLY Singapore’s. It has indisputable de jure ownership!

We could and should have let the de facto ownership dispute stew on in amicable fashion for years, even decades, until we have something that Singapore wants, when as quid pro quo, we could then demand joint management of the lighthouse and consequently joint ownership of what had been historically our land (except for a colonial bastardization of our rights).

But now, we need to know who gave 'advice' to the government to proceed to the ICJ on the issue of sovereignty of Pulau Batu Putih. Which musuh dalam selimut or Trojan Horse has sold away our birthrights to a foreign nation? We need to investigate whether there was any form of kow-tim-ness involved.

….. and is that why, at this juncture, the no-issue Sabah claim by a nonentity like the MNLF, has been raised?


  1. The government was, at the point of bringing the Pulau Batu Puteh case, very confident of winning.

    Not sure whether it was bad advice to start with, or something unusual happened in between.

    The truth is somewhere out there

  2. How can MNLF "non-entity"?
    Kerajaan Malaysia recognise them also. Libya pun.

  3. "The government was, at the point of bringing the Pulau Batu Puteh case, very confident of winning."

    Keep in mind that this is the same government that was very confident of capturing Kelantan and reducing Selangor to "pembangkang sifar". Or at least that's the face they made in public.

    Politics is politics, but one would hope that these clowns can at least get good legal advice from somewhere.

    I think maybe someone just wanted a Benelux holiday, and/or the "prestige" of putting a ICJ case on his CV. :P

  4. Traitor among our midst ?

    Anwar Ibrahim did it.

  5. Hei, what about those UMNO goons,Pat Lah,Dr.M included who sold pasir kpd Singapore....ini musuh dalam seluaq kot?

    Rembember Dr.M hantar that pendek guy...Aziz Sabah with millions to meet MLNF guy for a favour... ini musuh celah punggung kot?

  6. If your country has nothing to lose then why block the Philippines' request for this dispute to be brought up to ICJ. We'll respect whatever decision the ICJ comes up with.

  7. Arroyo needs to just promise to give 50% of Sabah to Abu Sayyaf and MNLF and these terrorists will turn sabah into another kashmir/gaza

  8. to dear filipino, why should Malaysia bother to go to the ICJ over Sabah - it's a non issue because Sabah is a State of Malaysia - NFA (no further action)

  9. Really? Then how can you explain the monthly payments that your government is paying to the Sultanate of Sulu?

  10. Who say Philippine takda claim Sabah. Sabah dia punya, Malaysia curi:


    1. What is the nature of the case ?

    It is a request for intervention on the part of the Philippines in the case between Malaysia and Indonesia regarding sovereignty over the islands of Sipadan and Ligitan. The Philippines requested to intervene in this case under Article 62 of the statute of the International Court of Justice because it is of the view that the decision of the ICJ in that case or its reasoning involved in that decision will adversely affect the legal interest of the Philippines as regards the interpretation and application of certain treaties and agreements which it relies on in its claim over Sabah.

    2. Since the ICJ’s decision does not allow the Philippines to intervene, how does this decision affect the Pi claim over Sabah?

    The ICJ decision does not affect in any way the merits of the Philippine claim to Sabah. The Philippines requested intervention in the case as a non-party. In other words, the Philippines, in seeking to intervene, did not intend to become a party to the case: between Malaysia and ndonesia. Its purpose is a limited one, namely, to have the opportunity to explain and show to the ICJ that its claim to Sabah may be adversely affected by the Court's decision or by its reasoning in arriving at that decision if the Philippines would not be given the opportunity to be
    heard in the case between Malaysia and Indonesia .

  11. The MILF is just a bunch of Muslim terrorist which was financed and used by the Malaysian government to forment instability in the southern Philippines. The objective of which was to drive as many Filipino Malay Muslims into Sabah so as to dilute the indigenous population of Sabah.

    However, 911 made Malaysia's support of these MILF terrorist untenable. The MILF of course did not take kindly to being abandoned by its sponsor. Thus Nur Misuari had to stir up the Sabah claim shit again so as to remind Malaysia to continue supporting them.

  12. Ktemoc, if you ever have the chance to live in Johor for a few years, you will understand what drove UMNO to bring the Pulau Batu Puteh to the ICJ for abitration eventhough as you rightly pointed out there was no need to do so. I say UMNO and not Malaysia here simply because we all know the decision to go for ICJ arbitration was made entirely by UMNO.

    In Johor more than anywhere else in Malaysia you will see how UMNO see themselves as the 'Mother of all Ketuanan Melayu'. They see themselves as the Malays who made all the non-Malays kowtow to 'Ketuanan Melayu'. That is all non-Malays must kowtow to UMNO first and then to all Malays in general. In the minds of UMNO it was they who kicked Singapore out of the Federation as punishment for refusing to accept 'Ketuanan Melayu'. Now, we all know the Tunku's real motive in kicking out Singapore was to isolate Singapoe economically by depriving Singapore of the tin and rubber which was the lifeblood of Singapore's trade. At the same time the British were winding down their military presence in Singapore thus adding to Singapore's economic woes. However, this 'Chinese' island lived and prospered to become more developed than Malaysia. It is this very success of Singapore which is a constant reminder to UMNO in particular and the Malays in general of how they 'lost' Singapore to a Chinaman.

    It is against this backdrop that we should view UMNO's decision to go for ICJ arbitration over Pulau Batu Puteh. The Special Agreement to go for ICJ arbitration was signed in February 2003 and the ICJ was formally notified in July 2003. Now one would only resort to the ICJ if only one is confident of winning for there is no way to change an ICJ decision short of war. The incoming Badawi administration must have felt that it needed to prove to the Malays that he could be just as tough as Mahathir when it comes to Singapore/Chinese. By 'winning' Pulau Batu Puteh, Badawi hoped to be an even bigger Malay than Mahathir. In other words he will be the new hero of 'Ketuanan Melayu'. It is also this mindset which prompted Hishamuddin to wield a kris. So the 'musuh dalam selimut' which led to Singapore gaining a military presence at the chokepoint of one of the most vital shipping route in the world is non other than this animal called 'Ketuanan Melayu'. Nowhere else in Malaysia will you find this anaimal in greater numbers than in Johore.

  13. UMNO is nothing but a sore loser. Notice that immediately Malaysia lost the case to Singapore, UMNO (mind you not the govt)insists on calling the island "Batu Puteh" removing the word "Pulau". Everyone knows UMNO's sinister motive. By not recognizing Pedra Branca (Now it is officially known much to the chagrin of UMNO)as an island, UMNO wants to Pedra Branca to be just a rock outcrop so that it cannot facilitate Singapore's right to expand its territory seaward as allowed to under international maritime law for islands. On the other hand, UMNO regards the Middle Rocks as islands and Rais mischievously wants to join them up to form an island. Isn't that provocative and reflects the mind of a sore loser? Mind you I am not a supporter of Singapore, but if anyone takes on those stupid and hated UMNO goons, even if that adversary is from the Congo or North Pole, I wouldn't hesitate to support long as I am satisfied that he can give UMNO a bloody nose and bring UMNO down to its knees! It is time bullies like UMNO be taught a lesson!