Malaysia speaks softly in the South China Sea


While the Philippines and Vietnam have been vocal in their maritime disputes with China, Malaysia has taken a more reticent tack to its claims

Malaysian foreign minister Anifah Aman said in a spirited speech this week to parliament that Kuala Lumpur does not acknowledge Beijing’s “nine-dash line” expansive claim over territories in the South China Sea, including features claimed by his country. This, he said, is because it is not in accordance with international law.

“Malaysia is also of the stand that there does not exist any overlapping claims or territorial disputes between Malaysia and China on the South China Sea,” Anifah said. “All geographical aspects or maritime features which are within Malaysia’s maritime jurisdiction belong to Malaysia.”

Anifah added that Malaysia “cannot remain neutral” on the disputes, of which Malaysia claims possession to a dozen Spratly islands in the South China Sea, as well as other outcrops in the disputed territory.