Comment by DATUK REJAL ARBEE
THE New Straits Times recently carried an item by an Associate Professor at Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Mohd Hazmi Mohd Rusli on the presence of a Singapore lighthouse on a Malaysian island Pulau Pisang, which is just off Pontian Kecil town some 100 Kilometers up the Straits of Malacca.
This is, of course, way out of Singapore’s waters. The island has a lighthouse, which strangely is still operated by that republic.
At one time the Singaporeans manning the lighthouse were given free access to the island without any checks whatsoever by any Malaysian authorities.
It went on until 2002 when the Malaysian authorities suddenly realised that foreigners had been granted free access to the island without so much of a check.
I don’t think there had been any other country in the world as liberal as this to allow foreigners access into its territory so freely.
Imagine that this had been going on for years, from 1900 until 2002 when the Malaysian government suddenly realised that Singaporeans, who are indeed foreigners to us had been going in and out of the island with impunity.
It was as if to all intent and purposes the island is owned by Singapore.
How can our Immigration Department or any other authorities allow such things to go on for years?
It looks as if our authorities have been caught napping again.
What if Singapore had suddenly decided to lay claim on the island, just as what they did to Pulau Batu Puteh?
Isn’t the situation somewhat similar in that the republic has an installation on Pulau Batu Puteh, which resulted in the International Court deciding to declare it as being part of Singapore?
So, in the same manner, what is there for Malaysia then should that republic decide to lay claim on Pulau Pisang since it has and is still operating the lighthouse.
What do all these show?
Isn’t it obvious that our authorities are very complacent with regard to exerting our control over our territories?
We should have already learned from our own complacency over Pulau Batu Puteh.
Do we want a repeat of that debacle?