Mahathir speaks on Pedra Branca, the rule of law and climate change at Oxford Union – Mothership.SG

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Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has addressed Malaysian students at Oxford University for the second time.

Mahathir addressed the issue of rule of law and used Pedra Branca as an example.

He noted that the case of Pedra Branca, which he described as “a rock” in his message, has been taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The court then ruled that the rock belonged to Singapore, Mahathir noted.

He added: “It’s okay, it’s just a rock.”

As for Malaysia’s issue with Indonesia, he noted that the two islands now belong to Malaysia instead of Indonesia, referring to the dispute over Sipadan and Ligitan Islands.

According to South China Morning (SCMP), the ICJ awarded these two islands to Malaysia in 2002, but did not determine the maritime boundary in the surrounding waters.

This was followed by protests in Indonesia in 2005 when Malaysia’s state oil and gas company Petronas granted Shell exploration rights in and around Sipadan and Ligitan islands, encroaching on a disputed body of water known as the Ambalat region.

This dispute later led to a military stalemate between Malaysia and Indonesia.

Mahathir: But no war broke out because of these issues

Citing these two issues, Mahathir pointed out that no war, damage or murder had broken out.

He said, “As civilized people, we have the rule of law and we obey the rule of law by going to court to solve our problems.

Malaysia can therefore serve as an example, he added.

“When we have problems with our neighbours, we solve these problems through negotiation, arbitration or by going to court so that we do not harm each other, we do not kill each other and yet we solve the problems that arose in due to overlapping land claims,” he said.

He then spoke about the Russian-Ukrainian war and the madness of killing people to resolve conflicts.

The former Prime Minister also stressed that he was against war because it is uncivilized and solves nothing.

Even so, it seems “we are addicted” to war as a solution to problems, he noted.

universal values

Mahathir then pointed out that the end of World War II saw the victorious Allies turn against each other, with the West deciding that the next enemy would be Russia.

This culminated in the Cold War, he said, which paved the way for the current tensions and war between Russia and other Western powers.

Mahathir clarified:

“And now that we have the West that sees Russia, China and Iran as their enemies. And tons of money has been spent inventing new weapons to kill people more efficiently. I don’t think let that be a good thing.

We could spend that money, trillions of dollars, to fight climate change, to deal with the pandemic, but not to kill people.”

He also referred to the recent shooting at a school in the US state of Texas, which left 21 people dead.

Here, Mahathir said that regardless of whether the argument that people, not guns, kill is true, the time has come to rethink what counts as universal values.

The priority should be global warming

Mahathir pointed out that the world is experiencing global warming and experiencing more severe weather conditions.

Criticizing what he saw as a lack of priority on this issue, Mahathir noted, “We should be focusing on this, but we are not. We are more interested in the East and the West. We always think that the problem we should be spending our time is dealing with the enemies.”

He then called on young people not to imitate the habits of their predecessors or the elderly.

“I mean young people should think more about how to be peaceful and how to deal with the real problems of this world. But apparently we don’t focus on that. We get knowledge in schools and universities, but we are not taught to make use of the knowledge. We can always misuse the knowledge we have acquired,” he said.

Top photo via Mahathir Mohamad Facebook