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No need to discuss Sulawesi Sea treaty in Dewan, MPs told
Published on: Tuesday, September 19, 2023
By: FMT, Lynelle Tham
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No need to discuss Sulawesi Sea treaty in Dewan, MPs told
Deputy foreign minister Mohamad Alamin says some documents on the Sulawesi Sea treaty may be discussed, but not in an open or public forum. (Bernama pic)
Kuala Lumpur: Deputy foreign affairs minister Mohamad Alamin has dismissed calls for the Sulawesi Sea treaty signed by Malaysia and Indonesia to be discussed in Parliament.

Mohamad said it is not Malaysia’s practice for Parliament to review the government’s action concerning treaty ratification.

“However, there are some documents that may be discussed, but these discussions will not take place in an open or public forum,” he said during his winding-up speech for the 12th Malaysia Plan mid-term review.

“As I have mentioned, if we are requested to refer (the issue) to the international relations and trade select committee, God willing, the ministry will provide a more detailed explanation then,” he said.

Mohamad said such discussions would not be held publicly to safeguard the sensitivity of the matter, as these treaties involve foreign countries.

He was responding to Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal (PN-Machang), who suggested that Parliament should discuss the matter following Indonesia’s statement that it will be ratifying the treaty in its Parliament.

“I urge the minister to consider our past actions as a precedent, where we ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA),” Wan Ahmad Fayhsal said.

“If Indonesia goes through that same process, why shouldn’t we? I’m sure that the Sabah MPs will support me on this.”

Mohamad had said previously the treaty documents would not be made public until Malaysia and Indonesia have completed their ratification processes in accordance with domestic laws.

“I would like to clarify that due to the differing ratification processes in both countries, these documents cannot yet be shared with the public,” he said in Parliament last week.

The Sulawesi Sea treaty has faced scrutiny, with some asserting that Malaysia was relinquishing its rights to the oil-rich disputed Ambalat block.

Overlapping territorial claims between Malaysia and Indonesia in the Sulawesi Sea or Ambalat, situated between East Kalimantan, Indonesia and southeastern Sabah, have been ongoing since Malaysia published an official map of its territory in 1979.

The Ambalat block, spanning 15,000 sq km, is said to possess the world’s largest crude oil reserves and has long been defended by Malaysia.

Wisma Putra had issued a clarification on June 20 that the treaty did not involve the maritime borders in the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf between both countries.

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