Johor Sultan demands Putrajaya explain 2018 decision to drop claim on Pulau Batu Puteh, says matter of sovereignty

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Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar questioned if Johor’s sovereignty was not important to the federal government. — Picture from Facebook/Sultan
Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar questioned if Johor’s sovereignty was not important to the federal government. — Picture from Facebook/Sultan

JOHOR BARU, Oct 14 — Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar today demanded the federal government explain its 2018 decision not to push a bid reclaim Pulau Batu Puteh in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

He said dropping the review was as good as admitting defeat even before exhausting Malaysia's legal options.

“We had found new evidence in our favour, but we had no chance to press our case as someone decided to drop the suit. Why?

“This is what upsets me most,” Sultan Ibrahim said in his official Facebook page.

The 63-year-old state monarch also questioned if Johor’s sovereignty was not important to the federal government.

“Why were we treated like a step-child state? (Even if they did not like Johor).

“How would Kedahans feel if Malaysia lost Langkawi to Thailand?” he asked.

Sultan Ibrahim also said the special committee set up by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob must find out the real reason behind the past administration's decision to abandon the review.

“If the allegations of negligence on the matter are true, this warrants stern action against those responsible.

“This is a matter of our nation’s sovereignty,” added Sultan Ibrahim.

At that time, the federal government was led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad under the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Last Monday, Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said Johor would support any legal action if a task force found that there was negligence involved in the Pulau Batu Puteh case.

In welcoming the federal government’s decision to review laws relating to the case, he said the state agreed and would provide full support on taking legal action under the “tort of misfeasance” towards any parties found to have committed negligence or errors for not pursuing the application for review and interpretation of the case.

Hasni added that the state government also wants the matter to be expedited so that those who are responsible would be brought to justice immediately.

Last Saturday, Ismail Sabri said the government decided to form a special task force to look into the Pulau Batu Puteh issue headed by former attorney general Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.

The prime minister said the task force would be given six months to produce findings and recommendations for the Cabinet’s further action.

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