PETALING JAYA: It is Singapore's prerogative to refer to an international third party its long-standing dispute with Malaysia over railway land, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“That is their right to do so. We sent our land reclamation dispute with Singapore to the international court and that was our right,” he told reporters after opening the Fifth International Conference on Traditional and Complementary Medicine here yesterday.
Abdullah, who was asked to comment on the diplomatic letter sent by Singapore to Kuala Lumpur last month, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar had yet to brief him on the letter.
“He has not told me because he had been busy with the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Conference) summit. I will respond appropriately after I have studied the letter,” he said.
It was reported that Singapore had sent the diplomatic letter to Kuala Lumpur on Sept 26.
Singapore's Foreign Minister, S. Jayakumar, was quoted as saying on Thursday that Singapore was waiting for Malaysia's reply.
Singapore would like the matter to be settled before either the International Court of Justice or the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
The dispute is over a pact called the Points of Agreement which the two countries signed on Nov 27, 1990.
Abdullah said that the railway land issue was one of the many longstanding matters between Singapore and Malaysia.
On Malaysia's role as chairman of the OIC, he said the first step the country would undertake was to ensure the implementation of the Putrajaya Declaration, a 12-point action plan adopted by the 10th OIC summit on Friday to make the body more credible.
“At this moment there is a committee to study measures which should be undertaken to implement them more effectively,” he said.
To a question, Abdullah said Malaysia was not thinking of moving the OIC headquarters from Jeddah.