King has audience with RCI members

Important task: Sultan Ibrahim handing over the letter of appointment to Md Raus as Azalina (fifth from right) looks on at Istana Negara. – Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, King of Malaysia, has granted an audience to members of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) that will review the handling of cases involving the sovereignty of Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.

According to a post on Sultan Ibrahim’s Facebook page, during the audience at Istana Negara, His Majesty also presented the members of the RCI with the instruments of their appointment.

Also present was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, Bernama reported.

On Feb 14, it was reported that Sultan Ibrahim had consented to the setting up of the RCI and the appointment of seven members, including former chief justice Tun Md Raus Sharif as chairman and former Federal Court judge Tan Sri Zainun Ali as the deputy chairman.

The five other RCI members are legal practitioner Datuk Dr Baljit Singh Sidhu, former dean of Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Law Dr Johan Shamsuddin Sabaruddin, constitutional law and administrative law expert Datin Dr Faridah Jalil, Johor state financial officer Datuk Mohammed Ridha Abd Kadir and director of Marine Department Southern Region, Dickson Dollah.

Sultan Ibrahim also consented to the appointment of Zamri Misman, the director-general of the Legal Affairs Division in the Prime Minister’s Department, as the secretary of the RCI, while the said division will act as the secretariat.

Last October, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the issue of Batu Puteh could be resolved with the direct involvement of the Attorneys General of Malaysia and Singapore.

Anwar also urged then-Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun in December to hold talks with the Singapore government on the controversy concerning the claims over Batu Puteh.

The directive called for Idrus to review and re-examine the issues surrounding Batu Puteh that had been awarded to Singapore by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) before this.

On May 23, 2008, the ICJ ruled that Singapore had sovereignty over Batu Puteh while Malaysia had sovereignty over Middle Rocks.

In addition, the ICJ ruled that ownership of South Ledge, located about 4km from Batu Puteh, would be determined based on the maritime boundaries of the country that controls it.

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