Malaysia

Alleged US spying on Malaysia not because of government’s weaknesses - Bernama

November 07, 2013

The alleged United States (US) spying on Malaysia does not mean the government is weak in protecting the country’s security as the US is also said to have spied on other countries as well, Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainudin said here today.

Dismissing criticism that the spying activity on Malaysia was due to the government's weakness, he said the US was even alleged to have spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"The spying activity is not because of Malaysia’s weaknesses, but rather the weakness of the US in understanding human rights principle," he said at a press conference, here today after officiating the Global Movement of Moderates’ (GMM) Stakeholder’s Roundtable Discussion, themed "Towards a common agenda for peace and prosperity through cultivating habits of moderation."

Hamzah emphasised that the spying activity contradicted with what the US had propagated all this while regarding human rights which disallowed anyone from spying on any country, including its leaders and people.

“The US should look at this as a weakness of its understanding of the concept of protecting a country’s security, which is not by spying on other countries. They should look at their friends, like Malaysia, as friendly countries that can help each other,” he said.

The issue of US spying activities arose following newspaper reports on the allegation by intelligence whistle-blower, Edward Joseph Snowden that the US had 90 electronic surveillance facilities worldwide, including in the US embassy here.

Hamzah said that the government opposed the spying activities and if the allegation was true, the government demanded that the US cease it immediately.

On bilateral relations, Hamzah said that there were ethics that the government had to adhere to when it came to bilateral ties.

“We have called the United States’ side (the US embassy) and they have come out with a statement. There will be follow-up to make sure that this incident will not happen again in future," he said.

To a question whether there were possibilities of Malaysia severing ties with the US, he said that there was no issue of breaking off bilateral relations.

"Malaysia has asked for a clarification. If we are not satisfied, we will ask further,” he explained.

Chief executive officer of the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMMF), Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, commenting on the issue, said the GMM was satisfied with the steps taken by Wisma Putra in dealing with the issue.

The roundtable discussion was held in response to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s speech at the 68th United Nations General Assembly in September, during which he renewed his call made three years ago to all nations to unite and reject the calamitous trend towards violent extremism.

Attended by 200 participants, the discussion focused on exploring common areas of understanding and cooperation, including reaching an agreement on a set of working values for moderation, identifying challenges and constraints, and adopting a list of joint projects. - Bernama, November 7, 2013.