Pulau Batu Puteh: AG expresss confidence in ability of Malaysia's legal team

By FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR - 16 February 2017 @ 1:02 PM

PUTRAJAYA: A legal team of six people, including foreign experts, has been formed to fight Malaysia's case in the Pulau Batu Puteh issue at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said the experts are on par with Singapore’s legal team.

“This legal team, excluding myself, consists of locals and foreigners. Unlike Singapore, which has announced the identities of their legal experts, I prefer to keep it close to my chest. But what I can say is that they are as good as the Singapore legal team.

“There is a plan to add more legal experts, most likely two people,” he told a press conference after attending the Attorney-General's Chambers' (AGC) quarterly gathering, here, today.

Malaysia is citing several documents dating back to the 1950s to support its application for a revision of the ICJ ruling that awarded Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore.

In May 2008, ICJ ruled that the island belonged to Singapore based on a 1953 letter by the colonial secretary in Johor to Singapore officials saying that the state did not stake a claim on the island.

Malaysia filed on February 3 for a revision of the ICJ decision.

Apandi said the team has found three new pieces of evidence and is confident that it will change the thinking of ICJ.

“I am also confident with the new team as they are world experts and no ordinary people.

“The ICJ’s 2008 ruling was based on the letter in 1953 and that was the only evidence.

“Now we have new evidence in the form of documentary evidence, telegrams, correspondences and maps which are subsequent to 1953,” he said.

He said the evidences were previously not available as they were classified by the British.

“They were not available to public until the evidence materials were declassified in September 2013, which is five years after ICJ made its decision to award the island to Singapore.

“Our team is digging more and more (for evidence). It is like looking a needle in a haystack as we have to go through over 3,000 documents,” he said.

At the event, Apandi presented certificates of appreciation to six officers for their high integrity in performing their duties.

On other developments, the AGC has approved 84 new and amended acts at Parliament from 2014 to 2016, and a total of 2,686 subsidiary laws have been approved by the chamber.

Apandi said the AGC will implement a certification programme which will involve e-Warta Persekutuan to create a systematic approach to protect sensitive information.

A legal team of six people, including foreign experts, has been formed to fight Malaysia's case in the Pulau Batu Puteh issue at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Files pix by Saddam Yusoff