Singapore should not issue threats, says DPM


  • Nation
  • Friday, 24 Jan 2003

BY SIM LEOI LEOI

PUTRAJAYA: Singapore should not threaten Malaysia to stay off the waters surrounding Pulau Batu Puteh when the island’s current ownership is in dispute. 

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Malaysia and Singapore understood that both countries had laid claims to the island. 

“It is due to these conflicting claims that we have decided to bring this matter up to the International Court of Justice. 

“To say that Malaysia is trespassing in Pulau Batu Puteh waters or its immediate surroundings is not proper. Such a statement should not be made as the matter has still to be decided by the International Court of Justice. 

“The island at this moment belongs to no one,” he told reporters after chairing the first meeting of the Cabinet Committee on National Competitiveness at the Home Ministry here yesterday. 

Abdullah was commenting on Singapore Defence Minister Dr Tan Keng Yam’s statement warning Malaysia not to intrude into waters off Pulau Batu Puteh. 

Dr Tan had in the Singapore Parliament called on Malaysia to stop what he termed as “repeated intrusions” by the navy and police boats. 

Abdullah advised Singapore to refrain from issuing any statement of a threatening nature as this might lead to “incidents”, which could complicate the already stormy bilateral relations between the two neighbours. 

In Malacca, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday said Malaysia would continue its sea patrols off Pulau Batu Puteh, reports LEE YUK PENG

“The patrols, which are non-aggressive, are not meant to increase the level of tension between the two countries,” he said. Malaysia has been patrolling the area since 1964. 

Najib refuted Dr Tan’s claim that Malaysia had taken advantage of the accident between the Singapore navy’s anti-submarine vessel RSS Courageous and the Dutch-registered container ship ANL Indonesia earlier this month. 

“We were asked by Singapore to give clearance for them to search and rescue their missing crew members and we helped them on humanitarian grounds,” he told reporters yesterday.  

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