No plans for Malaysia to show off naval prowess over Spratly Islands dispute


KUALA LUMPUR: There are no plans for Malaysia to show off its naval prowess against China's military presence in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (pic).

"We are not the type of nation that sends our naval armada elsewhere," he said, when replying a supplementary question by Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) during Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (July 25).

Bung asked if the navy will send its armada to the disputed maritime area to show China that Malaysia will not be bullied despite being a smaller nation.

Saifuddin had lawmakers chuckling when he said he would be worried if Bung was Defence Minister.

"A small country cannot be bullied by China, unless first invited to be bullied themselves," he added.

To a question raised by Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee (BN-Beluran), Saifuddin said that there are no plans to bring Malaysia's claim on Pulau Layang Layang to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Rather, Saifuddin said Malaysia will continue with steps taken by Asean in negotiating with China to agree on a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.

Saifuddin assured lawmakers that the Government was serious in addressing the issue of overlapping claims, including military presence on Malaysian waters.

He said that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad sent a clear signal on the matter when he said that he disagreed with China's naval presence in the South China Sea.

Last month, Dr Mahathir proposed a more "peaceful" solution, with Asean countries jointly patrolling the sea.

On May 10, an AFP report quoted US network CNBC as saying that China had installed anti-ship and air-to-air defences on the Spratly Islands.

Though the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also have claims to the South China Sea, Vietnam has remained the most vocal opponent to Beijing’s build up in the sea.

Spratly Islands