KUALA TERENGGANU: Malaysia has sent a memorandum of protest to the Singapore Government for continuing to carry out activities on Pulau Batu Putih, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said yesterday.
He said the official protest, the latest over the disputed island, was sent on Tuesday.
“We have been sending official protests to the Singaporean government from time to time, and it will be an ongoing exercise if Singapore continues to carry out activities on the island,” he told reporters after opening a one-day seminar “Women in the Globalisation Era” here yesterday.
He said Malaysia’s view was that since Malaysia and Singapore were engaged in a dispute over the sovereignty of Pulau Batu Putih, the area should remain as a “free zone” until concrete settlement by the International Court of Justice at The Hague to prevent any conflict between both countries.
He also said Malaysian authorities would be stationed near the area to monitor the island.
Syed Hamid said Malaysia felt that the island belonged to Malaysia and until the ICJ decided otherwise, Singapore had no rights to carry out any activity in the area.
He said Malaysia had compromised a lot in handling the issue not because it was weak but to avoid any conflict with the republic. He said Singapore should not handle the matter lightly.
On Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that Malaysia would fight back hard against foreign governments which wanted to use the country to launch pre-emptive or forward defence, Syed Hamid said the statement reflected Malaysia’s firm stand that it would not allow any power to violate Malaysia.
He said Asean had been a stable region with good relationships among member countries and the Government would continue to maintain the relationship and respect the sovereignty of other neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile in Muar, Johor police have advised the public, including members of political organisations and associations, not to take unnecessary risks by going to the disputed Pulau Batu Putih off Pengerang to support Malaysia’s claim over the atoll.
Johor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mukhtar Ismail said police respected their patriotic spirit and good intentions, but their venturing into the open seas in fishing trawlers posed many dangers.