The controversial claim made by ex-Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad that Malaysia should claim both Singapore and the Riau Islands in Indonesia via the state of Johor has drawn an official rebuke.
According to Indonesian news outlet Tempo, a spokesperson named Teuku Faizasyah from Indonesia's foreign ministry said, "Indonesia does not see any legal basis and reason for Tun Mahathir's statement," using Mahathir's federal title.
Made controversial claim
Earlier on Jun. 19, Mahathir claimed during a public speaking appearance that:
"We should demand not just that Pedra Branca, or Pulau Batu Puteh, be given back to us, we should demand Singapore as well as the Riau Islands, as they are Malay land."
He also claimed that Malay land used to encompass the area from the Isthmus of Kra in Southern Thailand, to the Riau Islands in Indonesia, as well as Singapore, but was now “confined to the Malay Peninsula."
Should not be making 'baseless statements'
Faizasyah added, "In a time when the world is facing many challenges, a senior politician should not be making baseless statements that can harm friendships."
He added that the Riau Island Archipelago will always be Indonesian territory.
Top image via Astro Awani/YouTube