KUALA LUMPUR: The youth wing of Malaysia's ruling party UMNO said it strongly condemns comments by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Malaysia's latest bid to challenge Singapore's sovereignty over Pedra Branca.
UMNO Youth chief and Cabinet Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in statement issued in Malay on Monday (Nov 20) that the comments were "irresponsible" and "could damage the good ties" between the two neighbours.
Mr Lee had on Sunday said that Malaysia's upcoming general elections "may have something to do" with its decision to ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to reinterpret and revise the judgment.
Speaking at the PAP awards and convention, Mr Lee also noted that Singapore's relations with Malaysia are complex and that issues will crop up from time to time.
In response, Mr Khairy said: "It is very easy to gain political support by making accusations about other countries as PM Lee has done with his statement made during the PAP party convention. However unlike him, Malaysia always takes a serious view of issues of sovereignty and not just for political support for elections or political conventions only."
Mr Khairy added that Malaysia was exercising its right to apply to revise the ICJ's decision. Its application was based on the discovery of new facts in the national archives of the United Kingdom in August last year.
"As a reminder, the Malaysian Parliament still has not been dissolved to this day, more than a year since the date of the discovery of these new facts," he said.
"This application and the second made on June 30, 2017 for a judicial interpretation was not one made lightly or without any solid basis."
UMNO Youth vice-chief Khairul Azwan Harun handed a protest memorandum to the Singapore embassy later on Monday, adding that leaders of ASEAN nations should show respect to other ASEAN members.
"If there is any issue, it should be dealt with through the right channels of diplomacy," he told reporters.
"We do not want anything that could hurt the good relations between Malaysia and Singapore as efforts are being made to strengthen the relationship between the two."
In June, the ICJ announced that Malaysia had applied for an interpretation of its 2008 judgement that awarded Singapore sovereignty of Pedra Branca.
This is "separate and autonomous from" the February application seeking a revision of the judgment, and a move which Singapore had called "puzzling".