LANGKAWI: Malaysia does not agree to Singapore’s proposal that the special agreement to refer the overlapping claims on Pulau Batu Putih to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) be signed in Brussels, Belgium at the end of the month.
“Why do we have to do it in Brussels? Do it here,” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said when replying to questions regarding the republic’s proposal that the agreement be signed at the sidelines of the Asean-European Union foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Jan 27 and Jan 28.
Dr Mahathir was speaking to reporters at the airport here before leaving for Kuala Lumpur yesterday after an overnight visit to the island.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar had, on Friday, also questioned the rationale behind Singapore’s proposal.
He said the dates suggested by Singapore were not even one of the seven or eight proposed by Malaysia since early last year.
In Kluang, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said Singapore’s proposal for the issue to be raised in Belgium was considered as “having its own motive and agenda.”
“Singapore is purposely trying to find a reason to avoid settling the issue amicably which reveals that the republic is inconsiderate and has its own agenda. They will blame us and will make an issue if we refuse to accept the (proposed) place.
“What is the connection between the EU-Asean Meeting and bringing the Pulau Batu Putih case to the ICJ?’’ he said after launching the Puteri Umno website yesterday.
In Kota Tinggi, Syed Hamid said yesterday the Government had not decided whether to agree with Singapore’s proposed dates.
“We want to settle the case as soon as possible and that was why we gave them several proposed dates last year. But the Jan 27 or Jan 28 dates suggested by Singapore may not be convenient to us.
“If we cannot sign it on the proposed dates, we will definitely find the nearest suitable date as soon as possible,’’ he said at an open house for his Kota Tinggi constituents.
On the water issue, Syed Hamid said Malaysia would not initiate further negotiations with Singapore until there were signs the meetings would progress positively.
“It is pointless to negotiate when at the end of the day, we come to a dead end. Until and unless we can agree on something, there is no point in discussing the issue. If both parties can no longer find a point of discussion, we can and have the right to use our legal rights to solve the matter but let’s leave it as it is for a while,’’ he added.
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