28/12/2002 - Remarks to the media by Minister S Jayakumar in response to Malaysia's allegation that Singapore is deliberately delaying the signing of the Special Agreement on Pedra Branca
It is absurd to say that Singapore is deliberately delaying the signing of the Special Agreement to refer Malaysia's claim over Pedra Branca to the ICJ.
We were the ones who had first proposed to resolve Malaysia's claim to Pedra Branca through the ICJ process, as early as 1989. Why did we do that even though we had been exercising sovereignty over Pedra Branca for more than 150 years? Because we wanted to resolve Malaysia's claim peacefully, without adverse effect on our bilateral relations, we are ready to kick off the next stage in the ICJ process by signing the Special Agreement.
Our officials will be discussing the dates for the signing. We are ready to do so any time. We have to find a window suitable for both FM Syed Hamid and me. We are looking at January. I believe there's one meeting in January when FM Syed Hamid and I will attend - perhaps we can sign then.
On the emotional statements and accusations, you have read MFA statement on this. Those accusations are absurd. They are wrong in law and they have also got their facts wrong. PM Mahathir has said that Malaysia would respect international law on territorial disputes and avoid any confrontation with Singapore over Pedra Branca. That is Singapore's position also.
28 December 2002