DEPUTY Prime Minister and Law Minister S Jayakumar has called Malaysia's allegations in the two sides' dispute over Pedra Branca 'baseless' and 'distracting'.
He was speaking on Monday at the International Court of Justice at The Hague in the Netherlands on the first of a two-day round of rebuttals for the Singapore side, after both countries had presented their main arguments to the Court in the past fortnight.
'During Singapore's first round oral pleadings, we have focused our presentations purely on legal and factual issues in dispute between the parties,' said Prof Jayakumar.
'We have carefully avoided mentioning extraneous matters that may affect the integrity of the proceedings before this honourable Court. In view of the good relations between the two countries, we had expected Malaysia to do likewise.'
He added: 'We are therefore surprised and disappointed that Malaysia has in her oral pleadings, made a series of allegations and insinuations against Singapore. These are of a nature which, unless rebutted, would impeach or diminish Singapore's integrity or could impress on the minds of the Members of the Court that there could be dire consequences for relations in the region if the dispute were decided in favour of Singapore.'
Such 'extraneous and prejudicial remarks', said Prof Jayakumar, include:
- an insinuation that Singapore may have concealed a letter from the Court;
- an allegation that Singapore is subverting the existing legal order, and that stability in the region will be affected if sovereignty over Pedra Branca is awarded to Singapore;
- an attribution of sinister motives to Singapore;
- an accusation that Singapore moved its navy belatedly to Pedra Branca and used aggressive methods to assert Singapore's claim; and
- a gratuitous 'offer' to continue respecting Singapore's 'right' to operate the lighthouse should Malaysia win the case.
So Singapore, Prof Jayakumar stressed, is 'compelled' to point out 'how baseless and tendentious Malaysia's allegations are and to set the record straight'.