Monday, December 13, 2010

Singapore is never wrong...

Even if it is, it's just an 'honest mistake'

Malaysia wants Singapore to explain the damaging remarks allegedly made by its senior government officials against Malaysia and its Prime Minister, reported The Star.

Malaysia’s officials said it would be best to wait for Singapore’s explanation before any reaction was given.

“I am sure Singapore will explain soon enough. I am sure some people are already embarrassed with the leak,” said a senior official commenting on leaked US diplomatic cables exposed by WikiLeaks.


The cables, recorded in 2008 and 2009, involved Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) senior officials Peter Ho; Bilahari Kausikan and Tommy Koh in meetings with US Deputy Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Sedney.

Kausikan reportedly said: “A lack of competent leadership is a real problem for Malaysia”, citing the need for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to prevail politically over the murder case of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

In his reply to media on Sunday, Singapore’s Foreign Minister George Yeo had dismissed these comments as confidential “gossip and cocktail talk” which should not have been released.

He added that the ministry would not check the veracity of the remarks, nor comment on what could have gone on in an informal and confidential setting.

Malaysia’s officials should take note that Singapore’s elite million-dollar ministers and officials can never be wrong and even if they are, its just an “honest mistake”.

What happened was indeed very bad, Malaysia should just move on.

Malaysia’s officials should take note that Singapore’s elite million-dollar ministers and officials can never be wrong and even if they are, its just an “honest mistake”.

Even more leaks to come soon

Meanwhile, a red-faced PAP Foreign Minister George Yeo tried to put up a brave front in the face of more damaging releases by WikiLeaks on unflattering comments made by his subordinates to U.S. officials which may threaten bilateral ties between Singapore and its neighbors.

Australian newspaper The Sunday Morning Herald published a series of exclusive diplomatic cables quoting three top Singapore diplomats – Tommy Koh, Peter Ho and Bilahari Kausikan making some unsavory comments about Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and Russia.

Kausikan reportedly said that “a lack of competent leadership is a real problem for Malaysia” and cast aspersions on the capability of its prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. He was recently promoted to become the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or in other words, Mr Yeo’s right-hand man.

Speaking to reporters on the matter, Mr Yeo blatantly refused to chide his diplomats for their insensitive remarks and tried to downplay the severity of the leak:

“There will be more coming out in the future and “you said this about me and I said this about you” and it goes on. I think it is best that we respect the confidentiality of diplomatic communication.”

As if to pre-empt a possible outcry from its neighbors who may feel offended, Mr Yeo said rather sarcastically:

“If you want to hear everything which others say behind your back, and take offence at it, you will be a very unhappy person.”

The leaked cables have already caused a massive furore in Malaysia with politicians from both sides of the political divide protesting against Singapore’s assessment of Malaysia.

Mr Yeo certainly would not want to hear what they are saying behind his back right now.


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