Singapore has no interest in undermining good relations with Malaysia: Foreign Minister K Shanmugam
Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has said that both Singapore and Malaysia have no interest in undermining the good relations between both sides.
Responding to recent allegations that Singapore diplomats had actively participated in Malaysia's Bersih 3.0 Rally in April,
he said that some quarters in Malaysia are clearly uncomfortable by the current good state of relations between the two countries.
Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Minister K Shanmugam reiterated that the allegations are false.
He said the Singapore officers were at the Bersih rally as impartial observers, just like diplomats from more than 10 other countries.
He said the Singapore officers did not wear yellow, the colour of support for Bersih and avoided Merdeka Square, which had been declared out of bounds by Malaysian authorities.
He said Singapore diplomats in KL are present at a wide range of social, economic and political activities in Malaysia.
This is part of their professional diplomatic duties, like any other embassy or high commission, and their actions were in accordance with the Vienna Convention.
Mr Shanmugam said Singapore is "comfortable and confident that our diplomats acted well within the bounds of the law."
He added it's regrettable that some elements in the Malaysian media and blogs have chosen to focus only on Singapore and have deliberately tried to misrepresent the issue.
Some articles were inflammatory with a racial slant.
Mr Shanmugam said the Malaysian government does not seem to share the same views.
"These articles suggest that the Malay community here can be persuaded to vote in a certain way. It's laughable because we have every confidence in our fellow citizens. This sentiment, which let me repeat, I believe do not reflect the (Malaysian) government's views, show a dangerous inclination to inject a racial angle into bilateral relationships and they show a continuing belief in some quarters that our Malay population can be targeted from outside, that is a deliberate provocation but we will not be baited by these negative elements."
Mr Shanmugam said he spoke with his Malaysian counterpart Anifah Aman, over two separate phone calls on 22 June and 3 July.
He added Singapore and Malaysia have every intention of preserving the positive bilateral relationship that both sides have worked hard to build.
"Obviously not everyone may be happy with this good state of our relationship. Minister Anifah and I have a good personal relationship and we were able to speak frankly, We discussed the matter and I made clear what our diplomats did and did not do. We also agreed that Singapore and Malaysia have every intention of preserving our current positive relationships. We have all worked hard to build up the strong ties that we enjoy, neither of us has an interest of undermining the relationship in any way."
"We should also not allow any negative elements uncomfortable with the current excellent state of bilateral ties to spoil our relations".
Mr Shanmugam added that bilateral ties have always been bigger than any specific disagreements or points of contention, and this is how both sides should move forward together.
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