Cabinet approves RCI to revisit Batu Puteh sovereignty

THE Cabinet has given its nod for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to reexamine issues surrounding the sovereignty of Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.

Chief Secretary Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali stated that RCI members would be experts in justice, law and public administration.

“The establishment of this RCI is in line with the Commission of Inquiry Act 1950, whereby the proposed membership of the RCI will be submitted for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s approval.

“The RCI members are expected to conduct the investigation transparently, fairly, and impartially to avoid any issues involving conflict of interest with the relevant parties.”

In 2008, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Batu Puteh belongs to Singapore, Middle Rocks to Malaysia, and South Ledge to the state in its territorial waters.

Malaysia sought an interpretation in 2017, and in 2018, the administration led by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad withdrew the application, a decision later questioned by a special task force in 2023.

The special task force set up to study the case found that Dr Mahathir might have made a mistake in withdrawing the application.

The attorney-general at the time, Tan Sri Idrus Harun, criticised the withdrawal as “not in order” and “improper”. – Jan 24, 2o23


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