Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pictures don't tell a thousand words!

Photo submitted by Malaysia (Pix source: The Straits Times, which said the Malaysian photograph, taken with a telephoto lens, magnifies the height of the hill by seven times)

Singapore's The Straits Times said this photo was taken with a camera that approximates what the human eye sees.

It’s truly fascinating that the current trial over who should own Pedra Branca (according to Singapore) or Pulau Batu Putih (according to Malaysia) has, at times, focused on form rather than substance.

In the rebuttal to Malaysia, Singapore chastised Malaysia over its photo evidence of the little outcrop, saying that Malaysia had misrepresented the distance of the island to Malaysia. Singapore seems to be technically correct as seen in the two photos in The Straits Times.

It’s odd that the Malaysian government had resorted to using a picture from an little-known blog to back up its photo evidence. Singapore has correctly questioned the veracity of the blog and the picture.

The truth of the matter is simply that the little island – whatever you call it, Pedra Branca or Pulau Batu Putih – is 25 nautical miles or about 40km from Singapore. The Singapore press would never fail to mention the distance between Pedra Branca and the Republic.

But Singapore press would generally leave out the mention of the distance between Pulau Batu Putih and Malaysia, which is actually 7.7 nautical miles or about 12.3 km.

Sophie’s World had earlier mentioned the distance as one of the factors in favour of Malaysia, but Singapore is banking on the legal notion of adverse possession to claim ownership of the islet.

Regardless of the photo evidence submitted, the indisputable point is that the little rock is a lot nearer to Malaysia.

I guess a picture doesn’t quite tell a thousand words!!!

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sophie...

Hei... Do we see Singapore in either of BOth PICTURES???.... I guess NOT....

Sorry....

By the way.... I vote for Malaysia.... not because the island is near to Malaysia... But due to history reasons.....

Bye.

The Void Deck said...

LOL Sophie, yeah form over substance to an extent. Or at least that is what the media is portraying it since the masses prefer to read about form than substance? heh

The Rock's Spore's! muahahahaha

Anonymous 8:34 pm - dude, distance has nothing to do with it. Ask the Brits about the Falklands...

The J-thing said...

But Singapore press would generally leave out the mention of the distance between Pulau Batu Putih and Malaysia, which is actually 7.7 nautical miles or about 12.3 km.

I beg to differ: on page H2 of the Straits Times on 9 November, in the centre of the page is a prominent map of the area, clearly showing Pedra Branca in relation to the Singapore mainland and Pengerang, Johor.  It is very obvious, even to the mathematically-challenged, that the islet is much nearer to Johor than to Singapore.  The position of Pedra Branca has often been indicated on maps attached to news articles and the fact that Pedra Branca is closer to Johor is not mentioned in print probably because it is conveyed graphically.

But then again, if distance was really such a decisive factor, Pedra Branca would have been awarded to Indonesia instead, and we can see from the 2002 ruling on Sipadan-Litagan that this is certainly not the case.

Anonymous said...

I am curious as to how was Pedra Blanca described in the history and geography text books for both Malaysia and Singapore.

For me, I was never taught that Pedra Blanca was part of Singapore.

I wonder whether the defence team can make use of this point in their defence.

Anonymous said...

Hi...

To Void Deck :

For Falkland Island.. I believe both British and Argentinian live in that island... At the end... most of them choose to be under the British rule..... That's ok for me....

For pulau Batu Putih, it is not a no man's land... it is owned by the Sultanate of Johore.... It is already belong to Malaysia for generations....

LONG LIVE THE KING OF JOHORE!!!!

Anonymous 8:34pm

Bye..

why liddat? said...

to base the decision upon distance alone would be overly simplistic. as one other reader rightly pointed out, the falklands are nowhere near the UK. Guam is another example, although history would provide many others, including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong.

Anonymous said...

lol then msia must give sidapan-litagan back liao, based on this dlawed logic.

kenna pwned by their own logic msia lol

The J-thing said...

For me, I was never taught that Pedra Blanca was part of Singapore.

I wonder whether the defence team can make use of this point in their defence.


Dear anonymous, I hardly think the judges at the ICJ are going to base their decision even partially on what you were taught in school about the islet.  It's down to facts and evidence.

Anonymous said...

to anon 2.12pm

haha yr rah-rah isn't going to do much good, the malay sultanate has been historically based on tribal rather than territoral control.

Also, based on precedent, the ICJ usually maintains the status quo, based on whoever displays e effectivities in open, notorious, and continous manner.

malaysia also needs to get lawyers who wont die on them halfway in session, and better photoshoppers lol.

Saturnvship said...

Here is the reality.

Hawaii is in middle of pacific ocean. It belongs to the United States.

Alaska (not an island but a part of America continent) is also part of the United States.

Both are far away from the mainland United States.

If this logic is acceptable to the entire world, why not?

Another example:
UK has Channel Islands which are actually nearer to France than the UK.

Many of Europe nations have islands belong to them - many are in Pacific Ocean, Altantic Ocean.

Anonymous said...

I believe Singapore "displays effectivities in open, notorious, and continous manner" based on their ownership of the LIGHTHOUSE... BUT NOT ON PULAU BATU PUTIH ITSELF.............

LONG LIVE THE KING!!!!

:]

Anonymous said...

AH YA JUST FREAKING SHARE THE FREAKING ISLAND LAAAAAAAAAH....sien aly lah.

Always fight fight over small issues when a country like myanmar is having bigger problems....

MDM SOPHIE

ngyt said...

The misleading picture issue does not carry much weight in either countries' cases.
Why did it become an issue at all?

One key thrust of the Malaysian legal team's case is aimed to show that the British did receive explicit permission to use PB/PBP from the Johor sultanate thereby proving that the British had recognised Johor's sovereignty over PB/PBP all along.

The Malaysian legal team submitted that there existed an important letter which had requested for explicit permission. This letter was said to have been sent from the British governor of Singapore to the Johor sultanate. However, the legal team said that Malaysia does not have possession of the letter and alleged that it is in the possession of Singapore's National Archives which had not replied to their requests for the letter. As Malaysia could not produce the evidence (the letter), this allegation actually counts for very little weight in the overall consideration of sovereignty over PB/PBP.

However, this insinuated that Singapore's National Archives had been dishonest. This is unfair because if such a letter did exist, it should be in the possession of Johor's archives as the Johor sultanate was the receipient. The Singapore legal team expressed dissappointment with prinicpally this insinuation. See report - http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20071119-37527.html

In retaliation, the Singapore legal team highlighted the inconsequential but juicy misleading picture issue.

Clearly, it was just a case of tit-for-tat.

ngyt said...

Why is this an important point?
It is because when the ICJ case is over, Singapore and Malaysia must still live side by side as neighbours. So the behaviour within the ICJ proceedings are as important as who wins.

KLConfidential said...

Sophie,

I personally would leave the decision to the international court to decide as I believe there are more things to consider other than the distance of the island. But honestly, i think it could be considered a threat if Singapore won and used the island as an army air base or something. Considering the distance to Malaysia.

Anyways, as for the post on my blog regarding this, my guest blogger '20 cent' was generally referring to the embarrassment that we, Malaysians felt when our legal team chose to use sources such as an anonymous blog whose facts are questionable. We are so 'malu-fied' and we are voicing it out. Isn't it so lame? Geez...

:)

20 Cent said...

Wow...I like it here. The arguments based on historical texts and geographic relation seems better represented than in most sites, even from the official representatives of Singapore and Malaysia.

Though the historical claim Malaysia lays on islet itself dates further back, Singapore has also been able to substantiate its standing with more current - and legally binding - documentation, in relation to the letters and maps from Malaysia indicating the islet ownership.

I do not wish to point fingers, but that this is laid on the International Court of Justice to decide is due to Malaysia's haphazard ownership over the island, as much as the overt greed of the Singaporeans.

Substantiation in a court of law is everything, and that the latest move by the Malaysian representatives to undermine our credibility - not just in this instance, but perhaps all other credible instance - is something we all need to hang our head about.

Regardless, please, please let the International Court of Justice decide in our favor...Singapore is too much a prominent power - both economically and militarily - for Malaysia to be surrendering any land to them.

Old Fart said...

Ones taken from further away with a telephoto lens and the other is taken from closer still with probably a 35mm lens. Both are as cunning and stupid as they can be. The seeming distances are relative. It is also obvious that Singapore's photograph was taken on a cloudy day so that it all loks rather hazy. Honestly if Malaysia had only used the photograph to show that the background landscape is Malaysian and not referred to any blogs or sources for the photograph...they might have got away with it. But now if they are capable of this kind of cheap shot one has to question the autheticity and credibility of any evidene they might have produced.

Neutral said...

Why is it that nobody is making Malaysia explain about its pre-1979 maps, which clearly indicate Pedra Branca as belonging to Singapore ? One does not exert sovereignty just by changing a map.

Fair & Neutral Observer said...

With all due respect, I think that references to past glories and kingdoms are not useful arguments. If they were, then the USA would belong to a few thousand North American Indian tribes, and Singapore will also have to be ICJ-ed. So please, tone down on the LONG LIVE THE ____ kind of argument. No offense intended.

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