Najib: Singapore has no right to stop our patrols

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 25 Jan 2003

JOHOR BARU: Threats and warnings issued by Singapore over Malaysian naval and police presence in waters off Pulau Batu Puteh show the republic’s irrational attitude when dealing with issues concerning the dispute. 

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that instead of finding ways not to strain relations between the two countries, Singapore had caused further damage by issuing threats. 

“We deem the statement made by Singapore as a threat. It may be thinly veiled but it is a threat, nevertheless. 

“However, as far as we are concerned, the patrols (by navy and police) will continue. It has not been determined which country the island belongs to and until then, we also have rights to the island. 

“More importantly, it is our responsibility to guard our waters and no one has any right to tell us not to,” he told reporters after presenting wings of the Territorial Army to Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, state executive councillors, heads of government and state agencies, held in conjunction with an armed forces career exhibition here yesterday. 

Singapore claimed that Malaysian navy and police patrol vessels had intruded into waters near the disputed island. 

Its Defence Minister Dr Tan Keng Yam also said Malaysia would have to bear responsibility for any tense situation that arose and the increased risk of “unintended incidents.” 

On another matter, Najib said the Government aimed to recruit 12,000 people to fill the army’s rank and file positions this year with three intakes to be held and six months' training for successful applicants. 

“With the 12,000 people targeted, the shortage of personnel experienced by the army in the past five years will be adequately filled and so far, we have already enlisted more than 3,000 recruits. 

“The response to join the army has been encouraging and many Malaysians are now aware of the prospects, rewards and fulfilling career one can enjoy in the army,” he added. 

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