Malaysia’s “new evidence” that it has sovereignty – and not its southern neighbour Singapore – over the rocky outcrop called Pedra Branca comprise a letter by Singapore’s top colonial official in 1958, a naval incident report the same year, and a map of the Lion City in 1966, This Week in Asia has learnt.
These three documents would likely overturn the decision by the International Court of Justice in 2008 to award sovereignty to the disputed island to Singapore, Malaysia claimed in court documents filed on February 3.
“This application is not an appeal against the 2008 judgment. On the contrary, it draws to the court’s attention what has only recently become known to Malaysia, namely, that even after the 1953 correspondence, and at a point at which Singapore had become a self-governing colonial territory, Singapore, at the highest levels of its government, did not have the view that it had sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh,” said court documents seen by This Week in Asia.
“Singapore subsequently carried this appreciation into its federation as part of Malaysia in 1963, and, as it necessarily follows, that appreciation remained controlling on Singapore’s independence in 1965,” the documents said.
“It is Malaysia’s contention, informed by a close reading of the judgment in 2008 and its accompanying opinions, that the court would have been bound to reach a different conclusion on the question of sovereignty over Pedra Branca had it been aware of this new evidence.”
Malaysia on February 3 filed for a revision to the International Court of Justice’s ruling in 2008 that the isle of Pedra Branca, a football-field sized rocky outcrop, belongs to Singapore.