Sunday, August 12, 2007

Singapore, Malaysia going to court again?

Are Singapore and Malaysia going to court again to settle old scores?

According to The Straits Times last night, Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong said that if there are bilateral issues which have to be settled, they should be resolved according to international law and treaties.

Hsien Loong said if they had been easy to resolve, his predecessor, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Dr Mahathir Mohamad, from whom Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi took over in 2003, would already have done so.

"I do not see myself being able to do better than Mr Goh Chok Tong. And I don't think it would be easier for Prime Minister Badawi to do better than Dr Mahathir, because what Dr Mahathir could not give, Datuk Badawi cannot give," he said.

One such issue is the overlapping claim on Pedra Branca or Pulau Batu Putih to Malaysia. The case is still pending the decision of the International Court of Justice. The two countries had also gone to court over Singapore's reclamation issues.

Other unresolved issues include the price of water from Johor, the re-development of Malaysian railway land in Singapore, the use of Malaysian airspace by the Singapore Air Force, a bridge to replace the Causeway, and the release of CPF monies to West Malaysians who no longer work in Singapore.

It's sad that the two close nations, which used to be one country, could not resolve all the outstanding issues behind closed doors without going to the international court. I guess the durian diplomacy in May didn't do much to restore bilateral ties.

Latest post (8 November 2007): Malaysia to reclaim Pedra Branca?

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