Batu Puteh issue: Johor Speaker offers to take legal action against Dr M

JOHOR BARU: Johor state assembly Speaker Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi has offered to take legal action against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) over the loss of Batu Puteh to Singapore.

In a strongly-worded Facebook post on Thursday (June 30), the Rengit assemblyman slammed the former prime minister for causing the country to lose its claim over the rock forever.

Mohd Puad said he supported Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi’s call for legal action to be taken against those responsible for the loss of the island.

“Though Dr Mahathir’s name was not mentioned (by Onn Hafiz), everyone knows it is he who is responsible.

“We can no longer sit and do nothing. The appeal period has ended. As a firm lesson, Tun M must be sued and pay the compensation and RM3bil is the most suitable figure.

“As such, I offer to be the one taking legal action against him as this is a matter of dignity... he sold Johor and the country’s sovereignty,” he said in the post.

ALSO READ: Batu Puteh loss calls for legal action

Mohd Puad also claimed that it was not widely known that on Feb 2, 2017, then-attorney general Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali had submitted a letter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a judicial review of its decision on Batu Puteh.

The ICJ then set June 11, 2018 for the hearing, he added.

However, on May 14, 2018 (four days after Pakatan Harapan formed the Federal Government), Mohamed Apandi was asked to go on leave and then solicitor general Datuk Engku Nor Faizah Engku Atek assumed his place, said Mohd Puad.

“On May 28, which was 18 days after Dr Mahathir became prime minister, the solicitor general wrote to the ICJ to withdraw the judicial review application. That was a black day for the country.

“That part has been kept a secret. The rakyat only knew that the appeal period for the decision had ended. What was Tun M’s tactic (muslihat)?

ALSO READ: Dr M refuses to talk to Batu Puteh task force as long as Apandi is chairman

“Until today, he is still arrogant (and) refused to attend investigations held by the Batu Puteh special task force,” said Mohd Puad, while calling for a royal commission of inquiry to be formed to look into the Batu Puteh issue.

On Monday (June 27), Onn Hafiz said the Pakatan government had erred when it withdrew the application for a review of Batu Puteh.

He said the move had not only set a negative precedent but also left a black mark in the history of our country and sovereignty.

“It is hoped that legal action would be taken against those responsible,” he said in his winding-up speech at the state assembly.

The ICJ ruled in 2008 that Batu Puteh or Pedra Branca belonged to Singapore, while sovereignty over the nearby Terumbu Karang Tengah or Middle Rocks was awarded to Malaysia.

In 2017, Malaysia under the Barisan Nasional government filed an application for a review of the ICJ decision.

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