PETALING JAYA: Wisma Putra summoned Singapore High Commissioner to Malaysia Datuk T. Jasudasen and handed him a protest note over unjustified comments made against the Malaysian leadership and the situation in the country.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said he conveyed Malaysia’s deep concern and displeasure over the comments by Singapore senior officials exposed by whistleblower site, WikiLeaks.
In an immediate response, his Singaporean counterpart George Yeo said he had called Anifah yesterday to clarify the republic’s policy of not commenting on leaks.
“On the specific complaints raised by Malaysia, what Singaporean officials are alleged by WikiLeaks to have said, did not tally with our own records. One purported meeting did not even take place,” Yeo said in a statement.
Yeo also said both foreign ministers agreed on the importance of good bilateral relations and strengthening cooperation further.
Anifah had earlier in the day told reporters in Parliament that Wisma Putra was not expecting any apology from Singapore but it wanted to put on record the Government’s displeasure on the actions of some Singapore officials.
He said reports of the leaks did not benefit both countries and had caused Singapore leaders some embarassment.
However, Anifah said he told Jasudasen that Singapore had to take into consideration the feelings of Malaysia.
Confidential diplomatic notes given by the whistleblower website to Australia’s Fairfax media group contained unflattering assessments by Singapore diplomatic officials on “incompetent” Malaysian leadership.
Singapore senior diplomatic official Bilahari Kausikan reportedly told US Deputy Secretary of Defence for East Asia David Sedney in 2008 that “the situation in neighbouring Malaysia is confused and dangerous,” fuelled by a “distinct possibility of racial conflict.”
Officials contacted by The Star said the protest note was necessary to send a strong signal to Singapore of Malaysia’s disappointment.
“The leak did not speak well of the warming up of bilateral ties,” said an official.
However, some quarters in the government are questioning Wisma Putra’s move.
“This is not a diplomatic issue, it is not the act of a Government but comes through a third-party source. This is based on leakages, you don’t act on leakages,” said an official.
Another official said Singapore could just brush aside the note, adding that: “I don’t think any country has sent a protest note because of WikiLeaks.”
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