Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 08/05/2013 19:33 | By Channel NewsAsia

Malaysia-Singapore land reclamation case documented in book

Malaysia-Singapore land reclamation case documented in book

Malaysia-Singapore land reclamation case documented in book

SINGAPORE: The land reclamation case between Malaysia and Singapore, which started in 2002, has now been documented into a book.

The three co-authors were involved in the episode, which concluded in April 2005.

They are Ambassador-at-Large Professor Tommy Koh, Dr Cheong Koon Hean, CEO of HDB, and Judicial Commissioner Lionel Yee, who was at that time with the Attorney-General's Chambers.

The book was launched by Singapore's Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

The book is about the about the talks, technical and legal arguments over Malaysia's legal action against Singapore.

Singapore's reclamation work around Tuas and Pulau Tekong was at the centre of the dispute.

Malaysia had asked the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea in Hamburg to order Singapore to stop work immediately, arguing that it had caused serious environmental degradation.

The three co-authors were at the forefront at the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, arguing Singapore's case.

Judicial Commissioner Yee said: "For the lawyers on the Singapore team, it was baptism of fire, but thanks to Malaysia, we learnt many valuable lessons from this case, whether it is working with foreign counsel or just doing the logistics of conducting case before an international court or tribunal. And we would be making full use of the experience that we gained from Malaysia again when we met them four years later at the International Court of Justice for the Pedra Branca case.”

Former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, who was at that time Singapore's Attorney General, said it was a story that needs to be told to remind Singaporeans that now and again, relations between Singapore and Malaysia can easily go awry for many reasons.

Mr Shanmugam said: "It was very important for us to win this case and it really showed the government coming together, lawyers, engineers, a lot of people working together and how we succeeded and subsequently the experts completely agreed with us and therefore the provisional measures were not ordered.

“Between Malaysia and Singapore, when we agree that we can go for third-party adjudication, it doesn't hold any particular issue so central that it holds the entire relationship hostage."

Mr Shanmugam stressed that bilateral ties with Malaysia are excellent, with both countries doing several projects together.  - CNA/xq

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