Singapore says envoys were impartial observers at Bersih
KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Singapore has denied supporting the April 28 Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur for clean and fair elections, stressing its diplomats were present only as impartial observers.
Allegations that three envoys from Singapore had joined the sit-in protest, seen by several Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders as a bid to topple the ruling coalition, had surfaced on several Malaysian blogs.
But the island republic’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) yesterday said the diplomats were there as observers and not participants, noting that they had even taken care not to wear the official yellow of the electoral reform movement.
“They specifically did not wear yellow to avoid being mistaken as rally participants. They were observers. They also avoided Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka), which had been declared out of bounds by the Malaysian authorities.
“These are legitimate duties of diplomats to observe political developments in their countries of posting,” the MFA was quoted as saying by Singapore’s Straits Times.
An Utusan Malaysia opinion piece, “Pendedahan ini, jika benar, cukup memeranjatkan!” (This expose, if true, is shocking!)” published on June 20 had then questioned the Malaysian government’s silence over such allegations.
The Singapore High Commission in Malaysia had mirrored Singapore’s MFA in a letter to Utusan Malaysia yesterday.
“We do not take any actions to affiliate ourselves with any political entity (for example, in our comments or dressing). The Singapore government does not interfere in any country’s political processes,” it said in the letter posted on its website.
The High Commission also slammed the allegations in the Malay-language daily as being “patently false” and stressed that it “takes an impartial stance on all political developments in Malaysia.”
It also emphasised that it is merely an “impartial observer” and was monitoring the situation in order to give advice to its citizens.
Pro-Umno blogger “mymassa” had also accused earlier this week three Singaporean envoys of holding a talk in the republic to get Singaporeans to take part in Malaysia’s upcoming 13th general election, based on a photo depicting an electoral process briefing that was allegedly taken in the Lion City recently.
The High Commission’s response in the letter was to say that “Singapore does not allow foreign citizens to engage in any activity of a political nature in Singapore. Our authorities are checking on these claims.”
Bersih 3.0 Singapore had yesterday described the allegations as “ridiculous”, saying the talk was a Malaysian event, organised by Malaysians for Malaysians living abroad on their voting rights.
A planned protest against Singapore’s alleged interference into Malaysia’s affairs failed to garner support when not a single protester turned up outside the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.