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Pulau Batu Puteh: AG to lead team of experts
Published on: Friday, February 17, 2017

Putra Jaya: Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali will lead a team of experts to take on the revision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)'s judgement over Pulau Batu Puteh.

Keeping tight-lipped on members of the high-calibre team, he said he was confident that the eight local and international experts were at par with the Singapore team.

"I am keeping them close to my chest, I am not going to announce them now.

But I can tell you, we can be at par with whatever team Singapore is sending and I am concentrating on this Batu Puteh issue.

"Till now, I have six experts excluding me, and most likely to add another two.

I will announce the personalities later," he told reporters after attending the Attorney-General Chamber's gathering, here, Thursday.

On Feb 3, Malaysia filed an application for revision of the ICJ judgement over Pulau Batu Puteh, citing three documents recently declassified by the United Kingdom to support the application.

These are the internal correspondence of the Singapore colonial authorities in 1958, an incident report filed in 1958 by a British naval officer, and an annotated map of naval operations from the 1960's.

Mohamed Apandi said he was confident that the new evidence could give the case a favourable outcome.

Asked on the case date, the attorney-general said the application must be served to Singapore and a certain period of time given for Singapore to respond before both parties were called to the ICJ in The Hague.

"Then, we appear at the ICJ for a mention date and probably fix a date from there. However, the ICJ is very busy with other mitigation between African countries. So, to get a date slotted may take some time, either within this year or next year," he said.

Mohamed Apandi explained briefly that the 2008 ICJ decision favouring Singapore was centred around a communication by the deputy state secretary of Johor who evidently told Singapore that Malaysia was not claiming the sovereignty of the "white rock island" in 1953.

"Now, we can use new evidence in the form of documentary, telegrams, correspondence (1958) and maps (1962-1966), which were subsequent to 1953. So, all these show clearly Pulau Batu Puteh belongs to Johor," he said.

Asked why Malaysia did not bring the evidence to the ICJ, Mohamed Apandi said those evidence were not available then because they were classified documents belonging to the British government and not open to the public.

"The British government only declassified the documents in September 2013, which was five years after the ICJ decision on Pulau Batu Puteh. Once it is open to the public, my team started digging and went through over 3,000 documents to find the three evidence.

"That is why we filed for revision. We strongly believe these new evidence will change the thinking of the ICJ.

Had these pieces of evidence been available then, the island would not belong to Singapore. It is ours," he said.

Mohamed Apandi reiterated that the process of revision would not adversely affect relations between Malaysia and Singapore. – Bernama

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