Saturday, September 6, 2008

Revisiting Pulau Batu Puteh

I am a Johorean, and I am proud to be one.

So when we lost Pulau Batu Puteh so Singapore, I was so angry. We should not have proceeded with the ICJ if we have yet to find the crucial letter stating that Johor only allowed Singapore to build and manage the lighthouse. I believe that that letter may still be in Singapore, and the Singaporeans, with their own interests at hand, will not admit to the existence of the letter.

Another factor that tilted the scale towards Singapore was the fact that they controlled, through their military, the waters surrounding Pulau Batu Puteh. And, we, the Malaysians, being a considerate neighbour, would never want to create unnecessary military tensions by using our own military strength to control the same territorial waters. Unfortunately, the ICJ ruled that such control by Singapore showed evidence of ownership of the island.

Singapore is now taking steps to extend their territorial claims over the waters surrounding Pulau Batu Puteh.

My beloved Sultan of Johor has vowed to reclaim Pulau Batu Puteh. I think, and rightly so, His Royal Highness was equally dissatisfied with the ICJ’s decision, or rather, the way the Malaysian government handled the issue through ICJ. Knowing my Sultan, he must have been angry with Pak Lah and Syed Hamid, our then Foreign Minister.

When it was disclosed that Tengku Razaleigh had written a letter to Rais Yatim to freeze technical discussion with Singapore in respect of Pulau Batu Puteh, I cannot but stop thinking that the Sultan of Johor may have consulted Ku Li on the matter. Ku Li, being a royalty in his own right, would be the best proxy to “deliver” messages from the Sultan to the government. And the government should consider the content of Ku Li’s letter with upmost respect and importance.

Pak Lah, at this crucial time, should take heed of the views from the Malay Rulers. Any complications arising from potential defections from the ruling party may require possible consultations with the King, and other Malay Rulers.

On the other hand, both Pak Lah and Anwar, the current PM and Opposition Leader respectively, are from Penang, a state without a Malay Ruler. Both may have very different attitude towards the Malay Rulers compared to people like me.

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