Thursday, 12 March 2015


The coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs assessed that their prioritized mission was to safeguard Indonesia’s outer remote islands. The case of Indonesia-Malaysia dispute over Sempadan-Ligitan islands which ended up in mediation by the International Supreme Court in Den Haag Holland who decided Malaysia as winner of the dispute.

Dispute over islands by the two countries has been going on for decades. The Sempadan-Ligitan island despute brought Indonesia and Malaysia on an agreement in 1969. In that truce it was agreed that Indonesia and Malaysia would put status quo on the island which was located in East Kalimantan.

In 1997 Malaysia and Indonesia agreed to bring the case to International court. Both countries persisted to claim the island as theirs. “In the past we were unaware of what was going on. We were supposed to have 17,000 islands but lost 2 islands, we were shocked. By the time the case surfaced in 1969, neither Malaysia not Indonesia was sure who owned the islands” the coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs Indroyono Soesilo told Business News (10/2).

At that time indonesia’s second President Suhato ended confrontation against Malaysia. President Soeharto met with Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak (successor to PM Tengku Abdul Rahman). The two countries agreed to suspend negotiation over Sipadan Ligitan. In the perspective of history, the Netherlands claimed one island as part of their Kingdom while Britain claimed another island as their. Over 32 years Malaysia had gradually developed the island into a resort. We have been off guard, but we decided to bring the case to the international Supreme Court in Den Haag.”

The judges in the Supreme Court in Den Haag viewed the case on very fundamental principle: did Indonesia and Malaysia have any proof to support their claim? Finally the judges referred to the principle of the island were treated as children and asked to answer the question: “who is your mother who raised you ?” and they would answer “Malaysia.”

Now might as well Indonesia comply to international Law, but in the future there should be no more case of island dispute like there Simpadan Ligitan. “To protect our remote islands, we would build infra structure, inter-insular connectivity and set up coast guard.”

On the other hand the Government of RI had enlisted (Toponim) Indonesian islands at the United nations. Indonesia was the worlds biggest archipelago with 17,504 islands scattered from Aceh to Papua. 92 small islands bordered on with neighboring countries. 13,466 islands were certified or enlisted at the united Nation’s Toponim. Many of the anonymous islands were not occupied by Indonesian citizens. (SS)

Business News - February 13, 2015

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