SINGAPORE (May 31): Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has announced that Malaysia will discontinue the proceedings that it initiated in 2017 to contend the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) ruling of sovereignty over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.

In a press release on Wednesday, MFA says Malaysia informed the ICJ on May 28 that it had dropped its requests to revise and interpret ICJ’s decision on sovereignty over the three disputed territorial areas, filed in Feb and June 2017, respectively.

The ministry adds that Singapore had informed ICJ the following day that it had agreed with Malaysia’s request for discontinuance, with Singapore’s Attorney-General (AG) having replied the Malaysian Solicitor General’s written notice to convey Singapore’s agreement prior.

Earlier on Wednesday, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had announced at a news conference that Malaysia had already been building structures on Middle Rocks, with the intention of forming a small island under the country’s name.

On ICJ’s notification, Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan reiterated confidence in Singapore’s case as well as the correctness of the original ICJ decision.

He also attributed the outcome to MFA’s legal team, which he said put forward “clear and compelling arguments” against the submissions advanced by Malaysia in 2017.

“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,” says Balakrishnan.  

Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge were the subjects of ownership dispute between Singapore and Malaysia over the years leading up to 2008, resulting in ICJ ruling that sovereignty over Pedra Blanca belonged to Singapore, with Middle Rocks belonging to Malaysia.

South Ledge’s sovereignty was left open with ICJ saying it belonged to the state in whose territorial waters it lies.