What are the motives of Mahathir withdrawing review of Batu Puteh?



What are the motives of Mahathir withdrawing review of Batu Puteh?

by Imran Manap

Various figures have come out in defense of Pulau Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca) – arguably one of the greatest stains on former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir’s administration of Malaysia.

To rectify the situation, The dispute between Singapore and Malaysia over Batu Puteh has a long history. Suffice it to say that it was eventually decided in Singapore’s favour by the International Court of Justice in May 2008.

Nine years later, Malaysia, led by Apandi, who was attorney-general at the time, applied to the court for a review of that decision.




The following year, however, the Pakatan Harapan government, with Dr Mahathir Mohamad at its helm and Tommy Thomas as attorney-general, withdrew the application.

Thomas, who was attorney-general in Mahathir’s government, said the task force chairman, Apandi Ali, was not able to sit in judgment of Mahathir as it was Apandi who had advised the previous government to file for a review of the World Court decision on Batu Puteh and two other islands.

Yet this topic received no attention from Mahathir – with the topic even famously being brushed aside during Mahathir’s own time as PH Prime Minister. The only reason this was brought back up was due to its mention by the Sultan of Johor.

Ever the power hungry politician that he is, Tun Dr Mahathir insisted that he should be the interim – while secretly making plans to form a unity government comprising of those who are loyal to him.

Conclusively, we can believe that this only goes to show how far Tun Dr Mahathir is willing to spite even our monarchs, just to be the sole decision maker in the country.




The monarchs, helmed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, serve an important function in our country. They are not only figureheads, but leaders when it comes to matters concerning Islam as well as forming the necessary check and balance to our many power-hungry politicians such as Tun Dr Mahathir.

If what Tommy Thomas has written turns out to be true, Tun Dr Mahathir insisting that he should be the PM instead of Dr Wan Azizah as proposed but he tells the entire world that he still harbours ill feeling towards the monarchs, something many of us are well aware of.

Of course, Tun Dr Mahathir vehemently denied that this ever happened. But that did not disprove the fact that he was seeking ways to form a unity government.

The idea of a new unity government without the inclusion of many of his cabinet members from Pakatan Harapan cements the theory that it was a power grab by Tun Dr Mahathir all along. This is eerily reminiscent of the 1988 judicial crisis, which saw the judiciary of the country shaken to the point of no recovery.

Resigning from the PM post is one thing, while the dissolution of the Cabinet is quite another. Tun Dr Mahathir’s hurried insistence that the Cabinet is no longer functional, and a new one is needed just proves the extent of his thirst of power.




Which dictator would not want a blank slate to work with to cement his position and power, and even that of his family? Luckily for Malaysians, the MPs from UMNO, BERSATU, and PAS thought better and decided to move forward without the involvement of Tun Dr Mahathir.

It must be disheartening for Tun Dr Mahathir to see his one last gambit to fall apart, as his final moments as a dictator were cemented. One year on, we are still reminded that we are infinitely better off without him. MG

What are the motives of Mahathir withdrawing review of Batu Puteh?
What are the motives of Mahathir withdrawing review of Batu Puteh?


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