Academics moot renaming South China Sea to assert Malaysian sovereignty


March 8 — Malaysia should follow its neighbours’ example and unilaterally rename its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea to assert its sovereignty in the ongoing maritime territorial dispute, a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia lecturer said yesterday.

Abdul Muein Abadi who specialises in political science suggested that the name could be “Malaysia Raya Sea”, to send a message to Chinese fishing and navy vessels that allegedly invade Malaysian waters.

“Why should we keep continuing to use the South China Sea name? Three of our neighbours have done it, we should have taken the same step,” said Muein, whose researches cover the territorial dispute, Chinese relations, and Chinese investment here.

Muein was a panellist in a forum on “Sinicisation” by Interdisciplinary Research and International Strategy (IRIS) Institute here, which refers to the process of non-Chinese societies getting influenced by China, especially its culture.

The South China Sea covers 3,500,000 sq km of area from the Straits of Malacca to the Straits of Taiwan, with territorial claims by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, and Malaysia.