JOHOR BARU: SULTAN of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar is fully supportive of Malaysia’s move to apply for revision of the International Court of Justice’s decision concerning the sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.

The ruler has urged Johoreans to pray that the upcoming ICJ’s decision would be in favour of Johor, based on new evidence found in the case.

He also expressed openness about having Singapore continuing to administer the island, even if the court favoured the republic in its decision.

The ruler said that such a thing was possible because of Johor and Singapore’s strong ties, and his good relationship with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

“Ties between Johor and Singapore are very good, and I am very close to the Singaporean prime minister. Our strong ties run way back. We are friends and neighbours.

“But, I have never spoken to the Singapore prime minister about sensitive issues. Such things should be between the two governments.

“If the International Court of Justice decides in Johor’s favour, Johor could still cooperate with Singapore to administer the Horsburgh lighthouse (on Pulau Batu Puteh). It is not a problem for me.

“It could be similar to Pulau Pisang, which adheres to an agreement that cannot be cancelled. Singapore has expressedly said that they hold no ownership of Pulau Pisang as it is not theirs. It belongs to Johor, and Singapore merely administers it,” said Sultan Ibrahim.

Though belonging to Johor, the lighthouse on Pulau Pisang is operated by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

Sultan Ibrahim said pursuing the case would be in the best interest of Johor and Malaysia, and he was sticking to his cause as it was about the state’s sovereignty.

“What we want is something that we have held on to all this while, which is about Johor saying that Pulau Batu Puteh is (part of) Johor. It is about the sovereignty of Johor. So, I support the Federal Government under the leadership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Go for it.

“I ask Johoreans to pray so that the court’s decision could be in Johor’s favour based on the new evidence that was found,” said Sultan Ibrahim.

Malaysia filed an application for revision of the ICJ’s judgment in the sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge on Feb 2 due to the discovery of new facts which, at the time of the judgment nine years ago, was unknown to the court or Malaysia.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong criticised the move by suggesting that it was due to Malaysia’s upcoming 14th General Election, which earned a rebuke from Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who described Lee’s statement as “irresponsible” and damaging for Malaysia-Singapore ties.

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Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar says Johor can cooperate with Singapore to administer the Horsburgh lighthouse on Pulau Batu Puteh. Pix by Zain Ahmed

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