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UMNO Youth condemns PM Lee's comments

The youth wing of Malaysia's ruling party gathered at the Singapore High Commission here yesterday afternoon, accusing Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of belittling Malaysia's bid to review territorial claims over Pedra Branca, after Mr Lee suggested on Sunday that it was politically motivated ahead of national elections due by August next year.

Yesterday, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin "condemned in the strongest terms" the claim by Mr Lee, pointing out that it has been more than a year since new information was found regarding the dispute over the rocky outcrop northeast of Singapore and Malaysia had yet to dissolve Parliament to pave the way for polls.

The Youth and Sports Minister was not present at the Singapore High Commission, but Umno Youth vice-chief Khairul Azwan Harun led about 20 members in an hour-long gathering to hand over a memorandum of protest to the embassy.

POSITIVELY

Mr Lee had opened his speech at the annual convention of the People's Action Party (PAP) on Sunday on foreign relations, with Malaysia and Indonesia, which he regarded positively with Singapore investing heavily in both neighbours.

But he noted that these relationships were complex, with issues cropping up from time to time such as Kuala Lumpur's bid to revise the International Court of Justice's decision to award Pedra Branca to Singapore in 2008.

"I am not sure what Malaysia's motive is, but their general election is coming, and maybe that has something to do with it," Mr Lee, who is PAP's secretary-general, said at the convention.

After handing over the memorandum to Deputy High Commissioner Mark Neo, Mr Khairul said: "If there's any issue, please raise this through the right diplomatic channel."

politics