ISKANDAR PUTERI (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Johor's Menteri Besar Osman Sapian has slammed the previous state government for the loss of Pedra Branca to Singapore.
He claimed that the then Barisan Nasional state government "kept quiet" when Singapore erected a telecommunications tower on the island, also known as Pulau Batu Puteh, in 1997.
He also claimed the previous administration did not object to the plan by Singapore to reclaim the sea area off the island.
"Johor also did not do anything to claim ownership of Pulau Batu Puteh by erecting any structure on the island," Datuk Osman said in his winding-up speech during a State Assembly sitting.
State opposition leader Hasni Mohammad said instead of blaming Barisan Nasional for the loss of the island, the state government should give reasons why it supported the decision by the federal government to drop its claim on Pedra Branca.
He said Johor should discuss with the federal government to make another bid on the island.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on June 1 said it has dropped a long-running territorial dispute between Malaysia and Singapore by mutual consent.
The court said Malaysia had notified its intent to drop its claim to the island, near the opening of the Straits of Singapore.
In a 2008 ruling, the ICJ awarded the Middle Rocks formation to Malaysia while the nearby Pedra Branca was given to Singapore.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on May 30 that Malaysia planned to enlarge the Middle Rocks to form a small island.