East Coast electoral division altered to include Pedra Branca

East Coast electoral division altered to include Pedra Branca

Pedra Branca
Pedra Branca. (Photo: Calvin Seah)

SINGAPORE: The electoral division of East Coast will be altered to include the island of Pedra Branca.

This is according to a notification made on Friday (Feb 1) by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, under Section 8 of the Parliamentary Elections Act, published in the Government Gazette.

The East Coast electoral division already includes Tampines, Simei, Bedok, Upper Changi Road and several of Singapore's other offshore islands such as Coney Island, Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong. 

When asked about the timing of the decision to include Pedra Branca, the Elections Department said: "All offshore islands that are part of Singapore’s territory are included in our electoral map."

The Elections Department also said in a press release that the Registers of Electors will be open for public inspection for two weeks towards the end of February. 

Any person who satisfies the following qualifying criteria as of Feb 1 – the cut-off date for the Registers of Electors – will have his name included in the Register of Electors for an electoral division: 

  • Is a citizen of Singapore (holder of pink NRIC);
  • Is not less than 21 years of age; 
  • Is not disqualified from being an elector under any prevailing law;
  • (i) has a Singapore residential address on his NRIC; 
  • or (ii) if he is residing overseas, and has changed his NRIC address to an overseas address, has a contact address in Singapore registered with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority for voting purpose (also known as a local contact address). 

TERRITORIAL DISPUTE

The rocky outpost of Pedra Branca became the subject of a dispute between Singapore and Malaysia when the latter published a map in 1979 indicating that the island was within its territorial waters.

The matter was brought to the International Court of Justice in 2003. In 2008, the IJC ruled that Singapore had sovereignty over Pedra Branca. 

The same ruling awarded Middle Rocks to Malaysia and South Ledge to the state whose territorial waters it is located.

Malaysia then filed two applications – on Feb 2 and Jun 30, 2017 – to revise the 2008 judgement, but decided to drop the challenge last year.

Pedra Branca illustration

Source: CNA/nc/gs(cy/hm)

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