Mahathir says M’sia sold parts of itself by selling sand & water to S’pore

He raised the water issue again.

Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad took to Facebook on Oct. 20 to defend his position over withdrawing the appeal on the ownership of Pedra Branca, or more commonly referred to as Batu Puteh in Malaysia, and took a jab at the current administration’s decision on reviewing the case.

According to Malay Mail, Malaysia’s current Prime Minister Ismail Sabri had announced on Oct. 9 that Malaysia will be setting up a special task force to conduct a comprehensive study to scrutinise, and recommend necessary options on the case of Pedra Branca. 

The nonagenarian said on his Facebook that “a dignified nation must uphold its promise. Only a nation with no dignity will break promises”. He was referring to the decision made by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which granted Singapore sovereignty over Pedra Branca in 2008.

“What is final is final. If a nation does not uphold its promises, no country would want to make agreements with that nation. It would be a pariah state,” he added.

In 2017, the Barisan Nasional (BN) government filed a review of the ICJ’s decision over Pedra Branca under the leadership of former Prime Minister Najib Razak.

After BN lost its power to Pakatan Harapan, Mahathir decided to withdraw the application to review ICJ’s ruling in May 2018, The Star reported.

Malaysia could go to war over Pedra Branca, but not sure if they could win

In his post, Mahathir further said that years of diplomatic negotiations between the two countries regarding the status of Pedra Branca had been unsuccessful.

“What were our choices? We could go to war and take back Batu Puteh, but the cost and death would be high and cannot be accepted,” he said.

“We were not sure if we could even win (the war),” he added.

Hence, he said that both Singapore and Malaysia agreed to refer the matter to the ICJ, and both countries had to sign a written agreement to accept ICJ’s decision.

“There are no appeals on ICJ’s decision. It’s final,” he added.

Singapore has become “a foreign country”

Mahathir also commented further on Singapore in his lengthy Facebook post.

He said that Malaysia has a “liberal policy” on land ownership, which makes it vulnerable to losing its rights over lands owned by foreigners.

“If foreigners own a large part of the land, then the country, physically, is not owned by the citizens,” he wrote.

“That’s what happened to Singapore.”

He added that Singapore was a Malay land, but today, it has apparently become a “foreign country”.

Malaysia “sold” parts of the country to Singapore

Another point that Mahathir raised in the post was that one of the ways to lose a country is to sell its sand or water to others.

“If the sand that was sold off to other countries was used for their reclamation and expansion, then it’s the same as selling off parts of our country to others,” he wrote.

“We sold Singapore,” he said, referring to the two countries’ past history. He also said the land and water sold to Singapore made the island bigger, and it is now owned by Singaporeans, developed under the Singapore government.

“This is the reason why Malaysia prohibits the selling of our land, and disputed the selling of water to other nations.”

Unfortunately, he said, “some administrations of the Malaysian government” are willing to sell raw water for three cents per 1,000 gallons to foreign countries “because they are lazy or scared to demand their rights”.

Singapore: Malaysia has lost the right of review

Singapore has repeated its stance on the price of water on numerous occasions.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said in March last year that Singapore is of the position that Malaysia has lost the right to review the water prices under the 1962 Water Agreement.

This was conveyed to Malaysia “as early as 2002”, he said, adding that “Malaysia cannot unilaterally revise the price of water”.

Nevertheless, he said that “in the spirit of bilateral cooperation”, Singapore has “been willing to listen to and discuss Malaysia’s proposals, on the basis that there is a balance of benefits for both sides”.

In addition, he said that any review of the price of raw water sold to Singapore will also mean a review of the price of treated water sold to Johor.

The water price issue between Singapore and Malaysia was revived when Mahathir retook office in May 2018.

By : Faris Alfiq –

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