KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 27): Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun said the Cabinet on Jan 11 was of the view that the decision to withdraw both the application for a revision of the decision on the sovereignty of Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh and the request for interpretation of the decision in the said case, was "not in order" and "improper".
Idrus said this in a statement on Friday (Jan 27), following the report of the Special Task Force on the Sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh, Pulau Batuan (Middle Rocks) and Tubir Selatan (South Ledge) that was tabled before the Cabinet for its consideration on Jan 11.
The AG added that nevertheless, the government respects the judgement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the May 23, 2008 case.
“The Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) is studying the recommendations made by the special task force, including the issue relating to tort of misfeasance in public office, and will take appropriate action to carry out the decision of the Cabinet.
“Issues relating to Pulau Batu Puteh are of vital importance, as it relates to strategic interests and sovereignty of the nation. In this regard, the government will continue to ensure that Malaysia’s interest and sovereignty are protected and preserved at all times,” he added.
It was reported last October that the special task force led by former AG Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali to review the Pulau Batu Puteh case had submitted its report to the Cabinet.
Besides Apandi, the other members of the task force who are also lawyers included Datuk Abu Bakar As-Sidek Mohd Sidek, Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, Datuk Tengku Ahmad Fuad Tengku Ahmad Burhanuddin and Datuk Dr Baljit Singh Sidhu. Others included officials from Wisma Putra, the AGC, the Department of Survey and Mapping, as well as Johor government representatives.
In 2008, the ICJ ruled that Pulau Batu Puteh, which is also known as Pedra Branca, belongs to Singapore, while Middle Rocks is under Malaysia, with South Ledge or Tubir Selatan to the state in the territorial waters where it is located.
The then Barisan Nasional government requested from the ICJ an interpretation of the judgement. Thereafter, as advised by then AG Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, the Pakatan Harapan government led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad decided not to pursue the matter.
Batu Puteh case: Final report tabled to Cabinet
Mahathir: Respecting ICJ’s decision the primary basis for 2018 withdrawal of Batu Puteh review