SINGAPORE: The Singapore government has dismissed allegations in the Malaysian media and some online reports that it is interfering in the country’s domestic politics.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Ministry said such allegations are "baseless".
This follows allegations that Singapore officials were involved in the recent Bersih 3.0 protests.
There were also reports that some youths were being trained in Singapore as polling and counting agents for the upcoming Malaysian general election.
In a statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said its officers were present at the Bersih 3.0 rally as impartial observers.
The spokesperson added that’s "part of their normal professional diplomatic duties."
He said the officers also did not wear yellow to avoid being mistaken as rally participants.
They avoided Merdeka Square, which had been declared out of bounds by the Malaysian authorities.
The ministry said what its officers did were "legitimate duties of diplomats to observe political developments in their countries of posting".
It explained that a diplomatic officer "is expected to be updated on the host country developments and to understand situations and sentiments on the ground".
There is also a consular angle.
The ministry said the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur received several queries from Singaporeans asking for advice.
And having a first hand sense of the situation helped the High Commission offer effective consular advice and assistance.
"I reiterate that these are normal functions for a diplomat. Indeed, other foreign diplomats in KL were also observing the rally. Given this, it is odd that some quarters of the Malaysian media seem to be singling out Singapore," said the ministry spokesperson.
The ministry also rejected an allegation that Singapore contravened the Vienna Convention.
The spokesperson added: "This is utterly untrue. ’Article 41(1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 reads: "Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State’.
"I repeat that our officers were not interfering in Malaysian domestic affairs. They were observing. They were careful to follow all domestic laws and regulations. Let me say clearly that the Singapore Government is impartial and does not interfere in any country’s domestic politics. Likewise, we expect that others will not interfere in our domestic politics."
Separately, the Bersih group has clarified (on its Faceboook page) that the training of Polling and Counting agents in Singapore was an event "organised by Malaysians for Malaysians only".
Singapore authorities are checking on these claims.
The ministry spokesperson said foreigners are not allowed to engage in political activity in Singapore.
Singapore had also rejected Bersih 3.0’s application to hold a simultaneous rally here.
"Again, we have no interest in interfering in anybody’s domestic politics. We rejected Bersih 3.0’s application to hold a simultaneous rally in Singapore. Why would we do that if we wanted to meddle?" said the spokesperson.
It said Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had asked to meet Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, Ong Keng Yong, on Friday afternoon. It added that High Commissioner Ong will also clarify Singapore’s position and address "these baseless allegations to prevent misunderstandings".
MORE SINGAPORE NEWS
Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn
Iranian Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi drew enthusiastic applause Friday for one of the most keenly awaited films at Cannes, with a Paris-set t... More Iranian Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi drew enthusiastic applause Friday for one of the most keenly awaited films at Cannes, with a Paris-set tale about love and its agonies. Farhadi tells AFP that if he could sum up the film in 30 seconds "I wouldn't have to take up 2 hours 10 minutes of your time", while lead actress Bérénice Bejo says Farhadi was just what she needed after the worldwide success of "The Artist". Duration: 01:26
Date 32 mins ago, Duration 1:26, Views 0