M’sian Ex-PM Mahathir Says Malaysia Should Claim Singapore & Riau Islands As They Are Tanah Melayu


Ex Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has sparked a controversy with his latest statement, he said that Singapore was once owned by Johor and the state of Johor should claim that Singapore be returned to it and to Malaysia.

“However, there is no demand whatsoever of Singapore. Instead, we show our appreciation to the leadership of this new country called Singapore,” he added during a speech on Sunday (June 19).

Mahathir also said the Malaysian government deemed it more valuable that they won control over the islands of Sipadan and Ligitan off Borneo against Indonesia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), while giving up a piece of rock “the size of a table” – Pedra Branca – to Singapore.

The 96-year-old ex prime minister, was speaking on Sunday at an event in Selangor organised by several NGOs under the banner Kongres Survival Melayu (Congress for Malay Survival) and titled Aku Melayu: Survival Bermula (I am Malay: Survival Begins).

“We should demand not just that Pedra Branca, or Pulau Batu Putih, be given back to us, we should also demand Singapore as well as the Riau Islands, as they are tanah Melayu (Malay land),” he added in that event.

In his speech, which was livestreamed on social media, Dr Mahathir, who is MP for Langkawi, said that what was known as Tanah Melayu used to be extensive, stretching from the Isthmus of Kra in southern Thailand all the way to the Riau Islands, and Singapore, but is now confined to the Malay Peninsula.

“I wonder whether the Malay Peninsula will belong to someone else in the future,” he said.

He also said Malaysia today is not owned by bumiputera, because many Malays remain poor and they tend to sell their land.

Urging his audience to learn from the past, he said: “If we find we were wrong, we should rectify these wrongs so that our land remains Malay land.”

The ICJ had in 2002 ruled that Sipadan and Ligitan belonged to Malaysia and not Indonesia.In 2008, the ICJ ruled that Pedra Branca belonged to Singapore, while sovereignty over nearby Middle Rocks was awarded to Malaysia.

In 2017, Malaysia applied to the ICJ to revise this judgment. But in May 2018, after Dr Mahathir became prime minister again, Malaysia announced that it would discontinue the proceedings.

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was discharged in January from the National Heart Institute two weeks after he was admitted. The 96-year-old two-time former premier, once the world’s oldest leader, was admitted to the coronary care unit on Jan. 20 for the third time in just over a month.

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