President's Aide Response to Mahathir Claims Riau Islands Part of Malaysia

Arfi Bambani
Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Dr Mahathir Mohamad - Deputy V of the Presidential Staff Office (KSP) Jaleswari Pramodawardhani responded to the controversial statement of former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad who claimed the Riau Islands were part of Malaysia. He stated this claim also works for Singapore.

"It needs to be confirmed whether Mahathir Mohamad's statement is the official position of the Malaysian Government. Otherwise, the statement is just a personal view," Jaleswari said in a short message received by Antara in Jakarta, Tuesday, June 21, 2022.

Previously, it was reported that former Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia should claim Singapore and the Riau Islands as part of the Malay Land. Mahathir made this statement because according to him, Singapore and Riau are part of the Malay Land which has historical relations with Malaysia.

Jaleswari emphasized that objectively, to determine the holder of sovereignty over a territory, customary international law and various precedents of international court decisions have provided a standard of effective control that must be met by a government over the claimed area. "Until now, the only entity that has control over the Riau Province is the Government of the Republic of Indonesia," she said.

This, said Jaleswari, can be seen from the existence of Indonesian government administration in Riau Province which is carried out through a democratic process, the capacity to apply national laws, population registration, law enforcement capabilities, and other elements that can only be applied by legitimate government entities.

Last Sunday, June 19, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said that Singapore was once owned by Johor and the state of Johor should claim that Singapore be returned to it and Malaysia. The 96-year-old was speaking at an event in Selangor organized by several non-governmental organizations under the banner of the Malay Survival Congress.

"However, there is no demand whatsoever of Singapore. Instead, we show our appreciation to the leadership of this new country called Singapore," he said during a speech quoted by Strait Times.

Dr 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.

"We should demand not just that Pedra Branca, or Pulau Batu Puteh, 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.

Tag # mahathir mohamad # indonesia-malaysia relation # riau islands # malaysia claims riau islands

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