Pulau Batu Puteh decision made based on sovereign’s agreement, says Dr Mahathir

According to the Langkawi MP, if Malaysia had not withdrawn its claim, Indonesia would have had equal justification in asserting ownership of the islands of Sipadan and Ligitan

by FAYYADH JAAFAR / Pic courtesy of Tun Dr Mahathir’s Office

FORMER Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has emphasised that the Malaysian government had renounced its claim for Pulau Batu Puteh in order to follow an earlier arrangement it had made with Singapore.

He said if Malaysia had not withdrawn its claim, Indonesia would have had equal justification in asserting ownership of the islands of Sipadan and Ligitan, which are located off the coast of Sabah.

“A sovereign state’s international agreements must be honoured as a matter of trust. Otherwise, Malaysia would not be trusted to keep its commitments to other nations. Malaysia’s credibility will suffer,” Dr Mahathir said in a statement yesterday.

“A Johor government official made a mistake when he informed Britain that Batu Puteh did not belong to them. After all, we have Middle Rock, which may be recovered in the same way as Pulau Layang Layang,” he added.

In regard to the Sulu claim, Dr Mahathir said that former PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak was at fault since he had arbitrarily stopped payments to the Sulu heirs without seeking counsel from the Attorney General (AG) at the time.

“The claim by the Sulu Sultanate’s heirs was made under the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration of Najib. The BN government did not move to deny the Spanish courts’ jurisdiction or to repay the money that had been halted,” he claimed.

Dr Mahathir said this in response to former AG Tan Sri Apandi Ali’s four inquiries on social media last month, in which the latter inquired why the former PM withdrew from a lawsuit against Singapore, the Sulu claim.

Apandi also questioned why the Pakatan Harapan-led government paid a wrongful dismissal action against him.

He also asked how Dr Mahathir’s children became billionaires during his premiership.

“If my children have become millionaires, please present confirmation of the dates they were proclaimed millionaires as well as documentation of their millionaire status,” Dr Mahathir said.

He demanded Apandi to provide evidence of his children becoming millionaires while he was still PM or face defamation proceedings.

Dr Mahathir said that while he was serving as PM, he forbade his children from engaging in any kind of business with the government or even joining a political party affiliated with the government.

On the government’s decision to resolve a lawsuit against Apandi, Dr Mahathir explained that Apandi was fired because the US Justice Department and, subsequently, the local courts had determined that Najib, was guilty of misconduct in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd case.

According to him, this demonstrates that Apandi was careless when he claimed that Najib had not committed any wrongdoing.

“Apandi’s actions demonstrate that he does not respect the rule of law. He is not qualified to be AG. The government has the power to fire those who make bad judgments, and it has stripped many of their jobs in the past for doing so,” the Langkawi MP said.