SINGAPORE: Three Diplomats Send Malaysian Bloggers Into Frenzy

How close is too close? Malaysian blogs claim that neighboring Singapore has crossed the line yet again!

While the two states are separated by only a short bridge, both insist on steering clear of meddling in each other’s domestic politics. However, several online blogs have accused Singapore of breaching this mutual, even if unspoken, agreement.

Three Singaporean diplomats were allegedly seen at a Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur this past April. The Bersih rallies call for election reform by the Malaysian government. The previous two rallies, one in 2008 and the other in 2011, have proved somewhat successful, with the government response being to form a Public Select Committee (PSC) to work on developing reforms.

The movement, however, insists that not enough has been done, urging the PSC to finalize the reforms before the upcoming election. Malay bloggers claim that the presence of the three diplomats at the rally in Kuala Lumpur expresses a strong desire to interfere with Malay domestic politics.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign in Singapore affairs denied these allegations by insisting that they have no interest in becoming involved in Malay affairs. According to his statement, the diplomats were there as “impartial observers,” not rally participants. They did not wear the rally’s color (yellow) and stayed away from areas in which Malay officials were forbidden. Their presence, the spokesperson claims, was simply to educate themselves on current events in the nation in which they work, a standard part of their job description. The statement also insists that foreigners in Singapore are not given the privilege of political participation and therefore the city-state recognizes Malaysia’s desire to keep foreign interests out of their domestic affairs.

As can be seen by the rise in anti-Singapore blogging, Malaysian bloggers are keen on keeping interference to a minimum.


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