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Press Statement by Lim Guan Eng in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 23rd May 2008: 

Malaysia's loss of sovereignty over Pulau Batu Putih - no more loss of territory through bad planning  

It was a sad and painful day for Malaysia when the International Court of Justice in the Hague on May 23rd ruled that Singapore has sovereignty over Pulau Batu Puteh, the strategic tiny lighthouse island near the Malaysian shore.From now onwards Malaysians will be forced to swallow their pride and call the island Pedra Branca.

The ICJ in its ruling:

* finds by twelve votes to four that sovereignty over Pulau Batu Puteh belongs to the Republic of Singapore;

* finds by fifteen votes to one that sovereignty over Middle Rocks belongs to Malaysia;

* finds by fifteen votes to one that sovereignty over South Ledge belongs to the State in the territorial waters of which it is located.

I am sad to acknowledge the fact that we have lost our case and I wish that the government would have been more prepared and serious in presenting its case in this 28-year-long territorial dispute.Despite the galling taste of loss, Malaysia is compelled to abide by the ICJ ruling in good spirits. Any refusal would be contrary to our pledge and honour to be bound by ICJ's decisions. Attorney-General should explain why we lost and if we had such a poor case, why pursue the matter with the ICJ?

DAP cannot understand how the Foreign Minister Datuk Rais Yatim can describe the ruling as a win-win situation when we won nothing but lost once and for all Pedra Branca. Datuk Rais and the government should not try to spin this defeat as a victory but acknowledge the sense of loss and disappointment felt by all Malaysians at the failure of the Federal government to defend our sovereignty.

However Malaysians have no choice but to accept the new international reality of losing control over Pedra Branca and continue to work with Singapore in areas of common interests and mutual benefits.

* Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General & MP for Bagan & ADUN for Air Puteh


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