In response to media queries on the discontinuance of Malaysia’s application for revision and request for interpretation of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) Judgment of 23 May 2008 in the case concerning sovereignty over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, Professor S. Jayakumar, Chair of Singapore’s Pedra Branca International Court of Justice Committee, made the following comments:
“Frankly, I was very surprised when the former Malaysian Government brought these two cases. Our foreign counsel, as well as we in the Singapore team, felt that Malaysia’s cases had very weak legal basis. We were very confident of our own legal case on both applications.
Therefore I am not surprised that the new Malaysian Government had proposed to discontinue both these cases. This has put the matter to rest amicably.
I have been working with our legal team on Malaysia’s two applications since February 2017, when Malaysia filed its revision application. All the members of the team were fully prepared for the oral hearings at the ICJ.
Some members of the team are disappointed that the cases will not be heard. They had put in a lot of work and were looking forward to arguing our cases before the ICJ Judges.
Throughout the past year-and-a-half of working on these cases, I have been cheered by the way the Singapore Pedra Branca team has worked.
First, the more senior lawyers like Professor Tommy Koh, former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, Attorney-General Lucien Wong and myself have worked very well with the younger international lawyers in the team.
Second, I am very impressed by the legal acumen and total dedication of the younger lawyers in the team. We now have a new generation of highly competent international lawyers. We are in good hands when similar international legal disputes arise in the future.
Third, it was a great inter-agency team effort. At all times there was close collaboration between the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maritime and Port Authority, National Archives of Singapore, Ministry of Law, Ministry of Defence and other agencies.
Fourth, we had an excellent trio of foreign legal counsel, comprising Professor Alain Pellet, Mr Rodman Bundy and Mr Daniel Müller. All of them had high praise for the younger lawyers in the team.”
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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
31 MAY 2018