Singapore

Singapore files rebuttal in Pedra Branca case dispute

Singapore filed a "comprehensive rebuttal" on Monday to Malaysia's request that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declare the waters surrounding Pedra Branca to be Malaysian waters.

"Singapore is confident of its case and its legal team," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement.

The next step is for the two sides to present oral arguments to the ICJ.

Malaysia's application, made in June this year, concerned the court's 2008 ruling that said: First, Pedra Branca belongs to Singapore; second, Middle Rocks belongs to Malaysia; and third, South Ledge belongs "to the state in the territorial waters of which it is located".

After the 2008 ruling, the two countries formed a joint technical committee to implement the ruling.

However, according to Malaysia, this committee reached an impasse in 2013, because it could not agree on what the ruling meant on South Ledge.

It therefore decided to submit the application asking the court to declare the waters around Pedra Branca to be Malaysian - and, by extension, that South Ledge belongs to Malaysia.

Shortly after the application, the MFA issued a statement saying Singapore disagreed that the 2008 ICJ ruling needed clarification.

"Malaysia's request for the ICJ to interpret the judgment is puzzling. Singapore will therefore oppose Malaysia's application for interpretation, which we consider to be both unnecessary and without merit," the statement said.

Following MFA's latest statement yesterday, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in a Facebook post that he hoped the ongoing applications on the 2008 ICJ ruling can be "resolved as soon as possible, so that both countries can focus on strengthening our bilateral ties".

In its statement yesterday, the MFA also said that Singapore had chosen Judge Gilbert Guillaume to sit as an ad hoc judge for the upcoming proceedings.

FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES TODAY

courtMINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (MFA)malaysia