PETALING JAYA: When Malaysia and Singapore agreed to refer Pulau Batu Puteh to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), both nations agreed in writing to abide by the decision as final, with no appeals, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The former prime minister took to his blog, chedet.cc, on Wednesday (Oct 20) to defend the decision by the former Pakatan Harapan administration to drop the review application in the Pulau Batu Puteh case.
"Final is final. If a country does not honour its promises, no nation will respect it, no nation will enter into an agreement with that country concerned," he added.
Dr Mahathir said both nations agreed to negotiate the issue and subsequently agreed to refer it to the ICJ after a settlement could not be reached.
He noted that both nations had to agree in writing that they would abide by the decision of the ICJ as final, with no appeals.
"We could have gone to war to wrest Pulau Batu Puteh but the cost of loss of lives would be very high.
"We could not accept this and also, it was not certain we would win," he said in his blog post Wednesday.
On Oct 9, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that a special task force headed by former attorney general Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali would be formed to look into the Pulau Batu Puteh case.
Ismail said the task force will conduct thorough research and propose suitable options by getting views from experts on international laws.
Last Thursday (Oct 14), Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar demanded a clear explanation why the Federal Government under Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2018 dropped the review application for the Pulau Batu Puteh case at the ICJ.
In May 2008, the ICJ ruled that Singapore had sovereignty over Pulau Batu Puteh while South Ledge would belong to the state in whose territorial waters it was located.
The Barisan Nasional government filed a review of the ICJ's decision in February 2017.
However, the Pakatan administration decided to withdraw the application for a review in May 2018.