Domestic priorities behind Malaysia's move to drop Pedra Branca challenge: Analysts

Malaysia could have concluded it may not be beneficial to revisit the old issue of Pedra Branca, said Dr Norshahril Saat. Dropping the case is "a way for Malaysia to signal to Singapore that it is mainly interested in tackling domestic economic issue
Malaysia could have concluded it may not be beneficial to revisit the old issue of Pedra Branca, said Dr Norshahril Saat. Dropping the case is "a way for Malaysia to signal to Singapore that it is mainly interested in tackling domestic economic issues, and not creating tensions via foreign policy", he added.ST FILE PHOTO

Decision to scrap high-speed rail could also be a factor, they say

Malaysia's surprise move to drop its legal challenges on Pedra Branca's sovereignty could be due to a desire by its new government to focus on domestic concerns, say political analysts.

To a lesser extent, it could also be influenced by two other factors: A separate move to scrap the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR), subject to talks with Singapore, and an assessment that Malaysia has a weak case going forward with Pedra Branca.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2018, with the headline 'Domestic priorities behind Pedra Branca move: Analysts'. Print Edition | Subscribe