Malaysia, citing “new facts” discovered in recently declassified British documents, has filed a challenge to the 2008 decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that ruled Pedra Branca to be Singaporean territory.
Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response that the Republic is “studying Malaysia’s application and documentation closely”, and has formed a legal team to respond to Malaysia’s challenge.
The Singapore legal team includes Attorney-General Lucien Wong, former Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar, Professor Tommy Koh and former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong.
Malaysian Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali filed the application with the ICJ at The Hague on Thursday (Feb 2) over the sovereignty of Pedra Branca, which is located some 24 nautical miles to the east of Singapore. The Republic was alerted overnight through the formal channels of the High Commission and the International Court of Justice.
“The application was made by Malaysia upon the discovery of some fact of such a nature as to be a decisive factor, which fact was, when the judgment was given, unknown to the Court and also to Malaysia as the party claiming revision,” Mr Apandi said in a statement on Friday.
He added: “We are also confident that the requirements as stipulated under Article 61 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice have been met in that, inter alia, the application for revision is brought within six months of the discovery of the new fact, and within 10 years of the date of the Judgment.”
It is early days yet in the court process, with the panel of judges to hear the case yet to be formed. Both sides will have a say in the appointment of the judges, and the number of judges on the panel is yet to be determined.
The Malaysian statement did not disclose details of the “new facts”. TODAY understands that three new facts were submitted. In response to queries from TODAY, Mr Apandi would only say that these were “discovered after the British Government declassified the documents recently”. Asked to identify the specific documents, he said: “Not now…when Singapore is being notified, they will be served with the relevant papers.”