Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman:
Malaysia Violates Agreement on Sipadan-Ligitan
12 Jun 2002

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Malaysia has violated the bilateral agreement between the Indonesian and Malaysian governments regarding the status quo of the Sipadan and Ligitan islands, ” according to Marty Natalegawa, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson.
“Malaysia has indicated its presence in these two islands in sectors like tourism. This is quite fatal,” Marty told Tempo News Room at his office in Jakarta on Tuesday afternoon (11/6).
Asked whether Indonesia has developed the islands, he said,” We’ve never carried out development on the islands up to now.”
Marty stated that in the past, Indonesia conducted activities in the islands as those islands were still part of Netherlands East Indies, adding “We can use this fact to support our argument.”
He went on to say that the Indonesian government has continuously launched protests on the activities of Malaysia in the islands. “
We’ve officially protested this matter,” said Marty.
However, he added that Indonesia will not disturb any activities in the islands whatever decision made by the International Court next November.
“We will respect any decision made on this matter,” said Marty.

9 June 2002

‘Malaysia exercised actual authority over the islands’

By Carolyn Hong

June 8: MALAYSIA and its predecessors exercised continuous sovereignty over the Sipadan and Ligitan islands, while Indonesia cannot show any kind of conduct to demonstrate that it has ownership of the islands.
Malaysia's counsel Sir Elihu Lauterpacht QC, a professor at Cambridge University, said Indonesia claimed that the Dutch ships Koetei and Macasser had in 1910 and 1903 respectively, surveyed the area.
He pointed out that carrying out a survey was not proof of sovereignty.
"If such could be the case, is there any country in the world that could not be the subject of a claim to sovereignty by Britain or the United States by reason of their worldwide surveying activities?" he said on Friday at the International Court of Justice hearing on Indonesia's claim to the Sipadan and Ligitan islands.
He said Indonesia had made a big deal of the only Dutch action — the landing of destroyer ship Lynx on Sipadan in 1921. Yet, the commander was careful to keep in touch with the British Resident in Tawau because he was in British waters.
On the other hand, Malaysia had exercised actual authority over the islands in a peaceful and continuous manner for over 100 years and up to today. Sir Elihu said for example, the Assistant District Officer of Semporna and Resident of the East Coast had taken responsibility to resolve disputes over collection of turtle eggs on Sipadan.
In 1916, the Acting Resident of the East Coast at Lahad Datu had issued a letter on the grant to collect turtle eggs, and had referred to the British Turtle Preservation Ordinance 1917 governing the matter.
"These are classic governmental activities, appropriate to the nature of the situation and the territory. The enactment of legislation is one of the most obvious and accepted displays of sovereign authority." "Surely, it is every bit as cogent as, or indeed infinitely more than, the solitary voyage of the Lynx." He also pointed out a 1958 map of the Lahad Datu Police District showing both islands as falling within that district, a clear indication that Britain considered that it had jurisdiction in both places. As for the British-built lighthouses on both islands, he said while these might not, in themselves, be proof of a title, they were important because they were a part of a pattern of exercise of State authority.
Sir Elihu said the British presence on the island group has always been open and had never been opposed, and the exercise of authority continues until today.