Comments by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the ICJ Judgment

23 May 2008

1. I am pleased with the result. We fully accept the judgment of the ICJ. I am glad that Malaysia has also consistently said that it will accept the ICJ judgment. This is a good way for us to resolve disagreements or problems while maintaining good relations with each other.

2. Pedra Branca has been a longstanding issue between Malaysia and Singapore. Former Prime Ministers Mahathir Mohamad and Goh Chok Tong agreed to send the dispute for adjudication at the ICJ in September 1994 and to abide by the ICJ's ruling. I remember many years ago in 1995 I visited Malaysia, and spoke at INTAN, their Institute of Public Administration. PM Abdullah Badawi, who was then Foreign Minister, chaired my talk. I was asked whether if the ICJ awarded Pedra Branca to Malaysia, Singapore would accept the judgment. I replied immediately yes of course, and PM Abdullah chipped in to assure the audience that naturally Malaysia would also do so if the judgment went the other way.

3. I am glad that this problem is now cleared. I will be writing to PM Abdullah to express my thanks to him that both our countries have been able to work together to resolve this problem, and we can now go on to develop our cooperation in many areas, such as the Iskandar Malaysia project.

4. I would especially like to thank the Singapore team at The Hague. They did a magnificent job in preparing and presenting our case before the ICJ. DPM Jayakumar, Ambassador Tommy Koh, Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, our foreign counsel, and many officials from our ministries and agencies have worked very hard on this case for a long time - in DPM Jayakumar's case, for 29 years. On behalf of Singa¬poreans, I thank all of them for their contributions and efforts.

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