Malaysia Has Plans To Build A New Small Island Near Singapore, Tun M Says

The Prime Minister said Malaysia wanted to develop some offshore rocks known as Middle Rocks.

Cover image via SCMP

There are plans to build a new island in the waters near Singapore

Image via SCMP

This was revealed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in a press conference yesterday, 30 May.

Mahathir made the surprise announcement saying that Malaysia has plans to develop two uninhabited rock clusters, called Middle Rocks, which are located at the eastern entrance of the strategic Singapore Strait.

According to Mahathir, as reported by Reuters, Malaysia had already been building structures on Middle Rocks.

"It is our intention to enlarge Middle Rocks so we can form a small island for us," Mahathir said.

The Straits Times reported the prime minister as saying that the matter is something that the Malaysian government is considering but has not "made a full decision yet". 

Malaysia and Singapore were involved in a territorial dispute previously and the matter was taken to international court.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2008 awarded Middle Rocks to Malaysia while a nearby island, Pedra Branca, also known as Pulau Batu Puteh in Malaysia, was deemed to be Singaporean territory.

In 2017, Malaysia reportedly renewed its interest in Pedra Branca, seeking a review to overturn the 2008 ruling. 

The Horsburgh lighthouse situated on Pedra Branca.

Image via EPA via SCMP

However, it was learned that Malaysia has apparently withdrawn its appeal to challenge the past judgment by the ICJ

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued a statement yesterday, 30 May, saying that Malaysia has discontinued proceedings at the ICJ relating to the court's 2008 judgment concerning sovereignty over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks, and South Ledge.

According to MFA, Malaysia informed the ICJ on 28 May 2018 that it would discontinue the proceedings that it had initiated earlier. Singapore subsequently informed the ICJ on 29 May 2018 that it agreed with Malaysia's request for discontinuance.

Responding to Malaysia's decision to discontinue the proceedings to challenge the previous ruling, Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said, "We were confident of our case, and the correctness of the original ICJ decision. When Malaysia requested to discontinue the cases, without them being argued, we were happy to agree. Both Malaysia and Singapore had gone through the due legal process and put this matter to rest."

The plan to develop Middle Rocks was revealed just days after Mahathir announced that the mega rail project with Singapore will be cancelled:

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