BATU PUTEH: APPLICATION WITHDRAWAL DURING DR M’S TIME INAPPROPRIATE, AG SAYS
KL, Jan 27: I don’t know why the editors at The Vibes decided to drop the word “irregular” from the headline as that was exactly how Attorney-General Idrus Harun, in his report to Anwar Ibrahim’s Cabinet on Jan 11, had put it: the decision by Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration in 2018 to withdraw the review application in relation to sovereignty over Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge was “irregular and inappropriate”.
In the diplomatic world, every word, nuance, punctuation is thought through. When Anwar meets his Singapore counterpart early next week, he may choose to omit either or both words the AG used or both PMs may decide to defer talks on Batu Putih altogether.
The top officials of their foreign ministries, however, don’t have the luxury. They will have to visit the subject, even though it has been 15 years since the ICJ gave away Malaysia’s outcrops off Johor to the republic. It’s their job.
I believe a lot of Malaysians are still interested to know. Why Tun Mahathir withdrew the application. Why AG Idrus think it was irregular and inappropriate. Did an officer in ex AG Apandi Ali’s office really advise Mahathir to withdraw. How and why did we lose Pulau Batu Puteh. Where is ex AG Gani Patail in all this? How will this affect Malaysia-Singapore ties under the unity government led by Anwar?
It will also be interesting if the potentially game-changing High Speed Railway project, which was stalled also by the previous Pakatan Harapan government and later terminated by the Muhyiddin administration (costing us taxpayers some RM380 million of money for nothing), will be raised between Anwar and his counterpart.
The Singaporeans are, obviously, still hopeful. Their media (read HERE) seem to be.