KUALA LUMPUR – Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said that the media report about him demanding Malaysia to reclaim Singapore and Riau Island was inaccurate.
The Chairman of Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) said that he has never asked Malaysia to reclaim the two territories. On the contrary, Dr Mahathir said that he only wanted to show the people that the country cared too much about the Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh) which is too small compared to the other territories that were taken from Malaysia.
“I tried to show that we were too concerned about losing a rock as big as a table but has never done that for a bigger area in Malaysia when it was taken away from us.
“Losing Pulau Batu Puteh is not a big problem. There were mistakes by the Johor Government when they denied that the island belonged Johor. If they did not make the denial, there will be no discrepancies now,” he said in a statement.
Dr Mahathir added, Malaysia should be grateful because the international court granted the Ligitan and Sipadan islands to Malaysia and Indonesia did not claim those islands.
According to him, those islands are more valuable than Pulau Batu Puteh which is merely a rock.
“We should be grateful that Indonesia did not dispute the award. Truly, we are not grateful with what we get,” Dr Mahathir said.
Earlier, the media reported that Dr Mahathir said in a congress last Sunday that not only Pedra Branca, Malaysia should also reclaim Riau and Singapore because the two territories were the Tanah Melayu based on history.
Malaysia lost its opportunity to reclaim Pedra Branca after Dr Mahathir, the then 7th Prime Minister decided to withdraw the request to review and interpret the Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh case along with the Middle Rocks and South Ledge several days before the proceeding in ICJ on 11 June 2018.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry responded that Dr Mahathir’s statement on Riau was no legal basis. -MalaysiaGazette