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The Uses of Pacific Settlement Techniques in Malaysia-Singapore Relations
Melbourne Journal of International Law (2005)
  • Chin Leng Lim, University of Hong Kong
States are compelled to seek flexibility in the design of their international law-related policies. Malaysia and Singapore are not exceptional in this respect. Both countries appeal to international law not infrequently when presenting their respective foreign policy positions. Both countries are active members of the UN; neither has submitted to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice but both have resorted to the Court by special agreement. However, while Malaysia’s decisions to litigate the Ligitan and Sipadan issue with Indonesia and to go to court with Singapore over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh presented relatively little risk, a low-risk legal strategy remains a legal strategy. While there may be differences in the way the two countries frame their strategies or perceive the other’s approaches, Singapore’s approach is not materially different from Malaysia’s; in truth, these differences represent a difference merely of emphasis. Both nations are ‘legalists’, but arguably neither is more ‘legalistic’ than the other. This paper proposes a bespoke institutional arrangement between Malaysia and Singapore for the pacific settlement of bilateral disputes, and discusses what such an institutional arrangement might add to the present situation. In particular, routine technical issues which may lead to dispute could be managed before they become politicised and compel litigation.
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Citation Information
Chin Leng Lim. "The Uses of Pacific Settlement Techniques in Malaysia-Singapore Relations" Melbourne Journal of International Law Vol. 6 (2005)
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