MFA Spokesperson’s Comments in Response to Media Queries on Prof S Jayakumar’s Conferment of the Order of Temasek (With High Distinction)

In response to media queries on Prof S Jayakumar’s conferment of the Order of Temasek (With High Distinction), the MFA Spokesperson said:


“Prof S Jayakumar has dedicated more than 30 years to serving Singapore and left an indelible mark in several key Ministerial appointments – Home Affairs, Law and Foreign Affairs, and later as Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Senior Minister.


As Foreign Minister from 1994 to 2004, he played a key role in fostering ASEAN cooperation and advancing Singapore’s interests during a crucial period which saw the 9/11 terrorist attack in the US. He protected our national interests adroitly, while keeping relations on a steady keel, on a range of complex bilateral issues: with Malaysia, the Points of Agreement on Malayan Railway land, issues related to the Singapore-Malaysia Water Agreements, and the Pedra Branca disputes; haze, the Defence Cooperation Agreement, and Extradition Treaty with Indonesia; and the Flor Contemplacion case with the Philippines. Singapore’s successful election to a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) from 2001 to 2002 was a reflection of his strong leadership and influence in fostering extensive ties and Singapore’s esteemed global reputation.


Prof S Jayakumar continued to oversee foreign policy issues involving legal negotiation or international adjudication as Deputy Prime Minister after relinquishing the Foreign Affairs portfolio. He led the Singapore team that successfully pleaded Singapore’s case on the Pedra Branca dispute before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague in 2007, which resulted in the judgement that included awarding sovereignty over Pedra Branca to Singapore in 2008. He was called upon again in 2017 when Malaysia filed applications with the ICJ to revise and to interpret the 2008 ICJ Judgment on Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge. Prof S Jayakumar worked tirelessly on the two concurrent cases with the Singapore team to respond robustly and cogently to Malaysia’s applications and to defend Singapore’s sovereignty before the ICJ, prior to Malaysia’s decision to discontinue both applications in May 2018.


Prof S Jayakumar continues to contribute to MFA as Senior Legal Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs since June 2018. Many of our younger generation of Foreign Service and Legal Service Officers have benefitted from his rich experience and strategic perspectives in managing sensitive bilateral and multilateral issues. For his sustained and invaluable contributions to Singapore, Prof S Jayakumar was nominated for the Order of Temasek (With High Distinction).”



Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Singapore