Making a Bogeyman from the Cloak and Danger Story

Ever since the Snowden expose about US, Australian and Singaporean intelligence outfits being in espionage against friendly countries, which include neighbors, there have been serious continuous enigma of efforts to cause further uneasiness for the public.

Bloomberg story:

Malaysia Summons Singapore Envoy as Spying Claims Widen

By Barry Porter & Manirajan Ramasamy – Nov 26, 2013 9:15 PM GMT+0800

Malaysia summoned Singapore’s high commissioner today to respond to allegations of spying which risk damaging improved political and business ties between the Southeast Asian neighbors.

Indonesia and Malaysia have been key targets for Australian and U.S. intelligence cooperation since the 1970s, facilitated in part by Singapore, the Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday, citing documents leaked by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. Malaysia’s foreign ministry said it was “extremely concerned” and had already acted against earlier claims of espionage by the U.S. and Australia.

Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong & Malaysia's PM Najib Razak

Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s prime minister, and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak shake hands in front of Malaysia’s landmark Putra Mosque in Putrajaya. Source: Government House/AFP/Getty Images

Johor–Singapore Causeway

Traffic flows in both directions over the one-kilometer long causeway that bisects the Johor Strait and links Singapore in the foreground with Malaysia in the background at dusk. Photographer: Jonathan Drake/Bloomberg

“It cannot be overemphasized that spying against a good friend and neighbor is unacceptable and goes against the true spirit of and commitment to good neighborly relations,” Anifah Aman, Malaysia’s foreign minister, said in an e-mailed statement before this morning’s meeting. “If those allegations are eventually proven, it is certainly a serious matter.”

Relations between Singapore and Malaysia have improved after half a century of tensions over issues such as water supply and ownership of a railway station, with the neighbors cooperating on real estate projects on both sides of the border and seeking to improve transport links. Malaysia is a party to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations with Singapore and the U.S.

‘Accepted Norms’

The Sydney Morning Herald cited a map from the U.S. National Security Agency and leaked by Snowden showing Singapore forming part of a global network where cable traffic could be tapped. Michele Batchelor, a spokeswoman for Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (ST), declined to comment. SingTel is 52 percent-owned by Temasek Holdings Pte, Singapore’s state-owned investment company.

Ong Keng Yong, Singapore’s high commissioner, said he met with Malaysian Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Othman Hashim today to clarify various news reports. The envoy later said in a phone interview he had referred the articles to relevant agencies in Singapore and didn’t have any information to comment further.

“Singapore values our good relations with Malaysia,” Ong said. “We have no interest in doing anything that might harm our partnership or the friendship between our two countries.”

The secretary-general conveyed Malaysia’s deep concern over the alleged spying bySingapore, which had angered citizens, Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement late today. The alleged activities aren’t done among partners and close neighbors, the ministry said.

Snowden’s Allegations

Malaysia said in a statement last month it had sought clarification from U.S. Ambassador Joseph Y. Yun following allegations by Snowden that the U.S. had 90 electronic surveillance facilities worldwide, including at its Kuala Lumpur embassy. Yun said he’d received instructions to review the scope of surveillance, it said, without giving details.

“I don’t think we should be surprised that these sort of diplomatic statecraft are being practiced, even by the closest of neighbors,” said Eugene Tan, an associate law professor at Singapore Management University. “The question now is whether some of the intelligence gathering may have crossed accepted norms.”

The reports could also spur friction between Singapore and Indonesia, Tan said. “The Indonesians would probably be concerned whether the information is also being shared with Singapore intelligence, besides the Australians.”

Indonesia Friction

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has written to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as he seeks to repair relations after claims the phones of Indonesia’s leaders were tapped.

Yudhoyono halted cooperation with the Abbott government on asylum seekers and military operations after withdrawing his ambassador from Canberra last week, as tensions between the two countries reached their highest point in 14 years.

Yudhoyono’s spokesman Teuku Faizasyah didn’t respond to a mobile phone message seeking comment today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Barry Porter in Kuala Lumpur atbporter10@bloomberg.net; Manirajan Ramasamy in Kuala Lumpur atrmanirajan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson atrmathieson3@bloomberg.net

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Riong Kali dot com’s story:

Singapore also spying on Malaysia, says intelligence whistleblower

BY LOOI SUE-CHERN
NOVEMBER 25, 2013

The US embassy in Kuala Lumpur, where spying activities allegedly took place. - The Malaysian Insider pic, November 25, 2013.The US embassy in Kuala Lumpur, where spying activities allegedly took place. – The Malaysian Insider pic, November 25, 2013.More top secret documents leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed that Singapore had aided the “5-Eyes”, the intelligence group behind a controversial spying activity in Malaysia.

Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad was quoted by Austalia’s Fairfax news agency as saying that Singapore was a key “third party” to provide access to Malaysia’s communications channel to the five nations accused of tapping telephone lines and monitoring communications networks in Malaysia.

The daily published a map showing the US’s stranglehold on trans-Pacific communications channels through interception facilities on the US’ West coast, Hawaii and Guam.

It depicts the facilities, linked between Australia and Japan, tapping all cable traffic across the Pacific Ocean, with Singapore being part of the set up.

The Fairfax report said that since the 1970s, Malaysia and Indonesia have been targeted by Australian and Singaporean intelligence, since most of its telecommunications and Internet traffic goes through the island city-state.

It was reported last August that’s Singaporean intelligence partnered with the Defence Signals Directorate, Australia’s electronic espionage agency, to tap the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable that runs from Japan, passing through Singapore, Djibouti, Suez and the Straits of Gibraltar to Northern Germany.

This was allegedly facilitated by Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel), the city-state’s government-owned telecomummincation giant.

On SingTel’s board to represent the government is none other than Peter Ong, the man who was once in charge of Singapore’s national security and intelligence coordination, and who is currently the country’s civil service chief.

The Fairfax report further claimed that Singtel has expanded intelligence and defence ties between Australia and Singapore in the last 15 years.

Last month, Snowden, a former Central Intellligence Agency officer who is at the centre of some 200,000 leaked documents showing America’s espionage worldwide revealed that Washington runs a monitoring station in its Kuala Lumpur embassy to tap and monitor phone and network communications.

Germany magazine Der Spiegel published a map showing the existence of some 90 electronic surveillance facilities worldwide, including in American embassies in Jakarta, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, and Yangon.

The map dated August 13, 2010, however did not show any such facilities in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, and Japan, Washington’s closest allies.

Last August, Australian intelligence sources confirmed Snowden’s claim that top-secret spying tool XKeyscore was used to spy on Malaysia and other Asia-Pacific countries.

XKeyscore boasted that the tool managed to capture 300 terrorists since 2008. – November 25, 2013.

***************

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak admitted that if there was espionage between friendlies and the extend of it is deep and threatening national defense and security, then it might impair relationship.

Email    Print

06 November 2013| last updated at 11:52PM

PM: We oppose spying

By AZURA ABAS AND A. AZIM IDRIS | news@nst.com.my

SEEKING ANSWERS: Govt awaiting outcome of US espionage review, says Najib

PUTRAJAYA:   PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib   Razak said Malaysia opposes, in principle, any spying activity on any government as it touches on national sovereignty.

He said Malaysia had sent protest notes to the United States and Australia on the alleged spying by their Kuala Lumpur missions.

Kuala Lumpur, he added, also expressed concern that the issue could affect the healthy relations enjoyed by Malaysia and the nations involved.

“We have done what is considered an appropriate response on our part and we stand by the question of principle.”

Najib said he had been informed that President Barack Obama had ordered a review of all spying programmes carried out by the US.

“In principle, we are against any spying and surveillance that affects the country’s sovereignty. We are waiting for the review. We hope the matter will not develop into a controversy in future,” he said after the 2013 Maal Hijrah celebrations at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre here yesterday.

Najib also questioned the extent of the clandestine ops allegedly carried out on the Malaysian government.

“The question now is, how far have these governments been gathering information on security, terrorism threats, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and transnational crime?”

Whistle-blower and former National Security Agency systems analyst-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden recently revealed that NSA was running a signals intelligence programme, headquartered in Fort Meade, Maryland, called “Stateroom”, in which the American, British, Australian and Canadian embassies secretly housed surveillance equipment to collect electronic communications from the host countries, including Malaysia.

The four, along with New Zealand, have an intelligence-sharing agreement known as “Five Eyes”.

Intelligence operations carried out included intercepting radio communications, information, telecommunications and Internet traffic.

On Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman summoned US deputy ambassador to Malaysia, Lee McClenny, and Australian high commissioner Miles Kupa to lodge Kuala Lumpur’s official protest.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had said that spying on Malaysia by its allies was a serious matter because it could cause tension in relations that were long established based on trust and sincerity.

“I believe if this (spying) is not fully explained, our long-established good relations can be adversely affected.”

Read more: PM: We oppose spying – General – New Straits Timeshttp://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/pm-we-oppose-spying-1.393262#ixzz2lmKjmJZ6

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One of the important avenue for the focal point of espionage activities is through diplomatic missions. Intelligence outfits often use the blanket of diplomatic immunity, to be the collection point before information are channeled to their respective beneficiaries.

It is to accuse any diplomatic mission of espionage without proper poofs. Hearsay and reports that appear in international media is not adequate. A more concrete evidence is required.

This morning, the Opposition brought this matter up as an agenda introduced for debate in Dewan Rakyat. Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia decided against it as ‘The matter is under investigation by Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Therefore, there is no urgency for the matter to be debated in Parliament”.

The Speaker is right.

Wisma Putra officials are working on it. They need to ascertain how deep, how long and how much of information obtained and collected by these acts of espionage. Most importantly, by whom and for what purpose.

Espionage is never a straight forward act of crime or against international diplomacy. Sometimes, it is so complex that some materials are allowed to be ‘leaked out’ for strategic ‘cat and mouse game’ using specific counter espionage purposes.

Intelligence community maintains certain rapport and communication system, to ensure that they are within the loop. Especially within the region.

Espionage between a neighbours in South East Asia could be in the end about how China is strategically moving its industrial might and international business clout in a West African country, which is thought to have a huge deposit of hydrocarbon.

Probably how Germany is introducing high technology industrial machineries into new markets in oil rich northern end of Latin America. The permutation is enormous.

It has been said that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was aware of the plan by the Japanese Imperial Navy to spring the surprise bombing on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941, with the intention to cripple the US Navy.

Snowden’s revelation itself could be a strategic game, to create an international turmoil and negative reaction between friendlies. The objectives of  Snowden’s revelation with those information has yet to be ascertained.

Another important bit is that espionage isn’t always straight forward and targeted information could be extracted from a single document or file. Usually it is buried in heaps of information, collected and collated through time. Even on tapped recordings or transmissions, it have got to be deciphered and processed.

That is part of the reason why Royal Malaysian Police Special Branch officers are attached to several of Malaysian diplomatic missions abroad. They compliment the ‘research team’ which comprises of career diplomats and subject matter experts of said regions.

Patching up between strained friendlies could be something strategic on its own. One party could make the other commit for a policy or stance, just to prove their willingness to be close friends again.

It is not the time to be jumpy and react to all the media reports, so far based on speculations of several hearsay. In fact, remain calm and allow for professionals to finish their vetting on tons of documents. Let the Wisma Putra work what they need to do. In due time, the Foreign Minister and Home Minister would step forward to furnish after their comprehensive investigations.

What is glaringly clear is that Nurul Izzah’s damning fallacy about Special Branch assigning 30 officers to London and this morning’s attempt to debate and bring the espionage issue into open debate in the Dewan Rakyat was never a coincidence. That, could probably be an intelligence game at play.

Published in: on November 27, 2013 at 00:01  Comments (28)  

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  1. Everyone spies. The big countries spy on everyone – all countries. The small countries may spy just on their neighbours and a few others, but when secretly in cahout with US, they spy on all.

    Spying used to be done only in wartime. Since the Prussian Wars in the 18th century, the Napoleonic Wars early in the 19th century, even earlier. By World War I, spying by civilians had started and by World War II, greatly enhanced. Even news agencies were used. Reuters had its beginnings during wartime, journalism as a profession provided a convenient “cover” for spying activities – what was “open secret” got published, what was not, got sent to a different headquarters as confidential, secret, top secret, or “eyes only” kind of information, as stated in James Bond films and books.

    Now spying is done all the time, more by civilians than the military or the police. CCTV cameras in shopping malls, on the roads, even in the toilets in exceptional circumstances, like (presumably) airport customs officers checking on those smuggling drugs in their stomachs or rear receptacles, otherwise known as the anus.

    All these can lead to many people developing paranoia. Not due to guilty conscience for any misdemeanour, but all sorts of electronic and visual imaging devices placed all over the places these days, your personal image may appear in 20-30 CCTV recordings each day you go out to office, or shopping, or even for a walk in the park..The more advanced the country, or the more chaotic the politics and poor rule, the more kinds of crimes, the higher the number of electronic listening and imaging devices deployed.

    Goodness, they spy even on the moon. The US flag Neil Armstrong planted on lunar soil decades ago may contain microchips sending signals to Houston of impending Russian spacecraft approaching.

    So, nobody should fuss about spying. Snowdon should simply be buried in the snow. The excitement was not in the spying but in it being discovered. Just let the authorities take the necessary action – advisory, retaliatory, reciprocality, etc.

  2. Singapore has been known as a country where “Big Brother is on the wall everywhere”, listening and watching what you say and do even in the bedroom. That resulted from the stern measures Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP Government took to ensure the people not say anything damning against the Government. And the harsh measures like making those stealing roadside landscaping plants re-plant them in front of Singapore TV cameras many years ago.

    Singapore is a small country described by Indonesian President Habibie as a “red dot”, is paranoid at having Muslim neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia, brought in Zionist Israeli advisers in their military and possibly even civilian defence set up, sharing common perception of endless persecution and possible annihilation by their neighbours. Spying is obviously in the context of that. No questioning of whether the persecution or possible annihilation is real or imaginary. In any case, every country worth its salt in funding and manpower does spying. What more when grabbed by the arm on the neck in a pally offer of “spying together” with the US like as reported.

    The Malaysian government has taken action in the form of a warning by the Home Minister, a statement of displeasure (diplomats don’t warn, just state a displeasure, I suppose) by the Foreign Minister, and the Foreign Ministry Secretary General has “summoned” the Singapore High Commissioner” to repeat the “displeasure”, followed by a written protest, maybe.

    If necessary, the next level of protest can be declaring an Officer at the High Commission involved in espionage (usually known to our internal security people) as persona non grata, giving him a stipulated time to leave the country. It can even go the next level of recalling our High Commissioner in Singapore and the highest level – breaking diplomatic relations. But each action taken may be reciprocated by the other side. As most countries engage in espionage, it is fair to assume that Malaysia also has Officers in Malaysian missions abroad doing it, including in Singapore. Only consideration is whether it’s worth the tit for tat to expel a foreign mission’s Officer in KL, and what can be got out of it.

    A better alternative is to enhance Malaysian espionage activities in Singapore – perhaps in cahout with Russia.

    .

    • Yes, it’s been said that Singapore and a few others around us will be getting the latest Stealth fighters. No hope for Malaysia to get any. Don’t want an arms race in the region, whatever, the Yanks will say.

      Like in the Middle East, only Zionist Israel will get the latest, the most sophisticated and most effective weapons. And nuclear bomb-making materials. Obama’s balls got squeezed by the Zionists both in Israel and in the powerful Israeli Lobby in US.

      So, Malaysia should get the latest fighter jets from the Russians. After all, we already have some of their fighter jets. Get the Russians to be stationed in this country to train our pilots thoroughly in air combat. For an indefinite period. Air power is the most important element in modern warfare.

      Singapore realizes that long ago. They have quite a formidable Air Force. Aircraft stationed in Taiwan, Hong Kong, even in US, under “training agreements” etc. Our Air Force knows this. But the politicians decide on our armaments. Already the former Menteri Amaran is now talking as Menteri Blue Ocean. We must whack and wank them as hard and as often as possible to bang the cold hard facts and scary realities into the politicians’ heads.

      Spend less, for example, on the foreign consultants, and save the money for more of the latest fighter aircraft. From Russia. After all the Russians have been responsible these days. They played a major part in getting Obama not to bomb Syria recently. And a major part in getting the agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue only days ago.

  3. Yeah, these days we no longer read about the kicking out of diplomats and others form one country and the counter-action by the other country like during the Cold War years, only once between US and Russia some years ago.

    Soviet Russia has broken up and the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin appears civilized and democratic, active in the maintenance of world peace together with US etc, like the agreement on Iranian nuclear issue the day before.

    But sophisticated spying activities like tapping cables done by US with Singapore can be done by Malaysia with Russia even in Malaysia – not necessarily in Singapore. Sure, the Russians have the technology and Malaysia can learn from them.

    But not with China, please. Though they may not have the US or Russia level of sophisticated technology. They even bully the Philippines in the South China Sea island claim issue. And with the DAP and the tsunami Chinese, there is bound to be a Fifth Column in this country. China would gobble small countries like us – they even appear to be roughing up the Japanese on the islands Japan has been claiming.

    In the face of the Chinese threat, the Japanese PM has started talking about amending their war-renouncing Constitution and changing their armed forces from having just “defence” to “offence” capabilities as well. The Chinese were bullied by the Japanese militarily quite a few times in the past.

    • On the news just now – US bombers flew over the islands claimed by Japan. They are said to be

      – a challenge to Beijing’s “claiming the islands militarily”
      – a show of support for Japan
      – Obama enforcing his Containment of China policy

      China is said to be angry that US did not “ask permission” or consult China before conducting the flight, and grinned and bore it.

      Note that not just small nations like us often have to grin and bear situations. A huge country like China, now the 2nd largest economy in the world, also has to – on this very day.

      I’m happy. Those Mao Zedong-minded blokes behaving badly – “claiming militarily” (presumably by sending warships as a shoe of force) when they should have resorted to the UN to settle disputes, especially when they are one of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council.

  4. The reason why Singapore spy and shared the information they gathered with US and other major powers are two fold. Firstly Malaysia has always been perceived as a direct security and at times existential threat to Singapore. So they must know everything about us in order to be able to prepare themselves for any eventualities, and on a more operational level, undercut us in any negotiation.

    Second, more sinister reason why they went to the extend of voluntarily providing any information they have gathered to other major powers (US, UK, AUS) is that, they want to curry favor and improve their standing in the eyes of these major powers. Contrary to public statements, they actually ally themselves with these major powers much more than their immediate neighbor or other ASEAN members.

    This “alliance” is so important to them, that at one point when Malaysia standing with the US had improved (after Tun M left*), that Lee Kuan Yew had to go to Washington to specifically lobby/re-assured US that Singapore is, and must continue to remain their most reliable and trusted ally in this region.

    It is widely “acknowledged” that among all countries that have presence in Malaysia (neighbors, through corporate offices or embassies), Singapore is the most “intelligence obsessed”.

    Singapore GLC has long been a part of their wider network of tools for intelligence gathering. The Thailand 2006 coup d’état by the Thai military was brought about in large part due to the Thai Military anger at Thaksin’s Shin Corp plan to sell their controlling stake to Temasek and SingTel. Back then Shin Corp had a dominant control over Thailand communication network including a plan for satellite based military communication facilities. The Thai military know what SingTel is capable of and routinely do, and they are not going to let Shin Corp provide SingTel with an easy, backdoor access to their communication network hence the coup.

    Back home, Malaysian armed forces had captured and prosecuted Singaporean agent before. So there is nothing new about this.

    *p/s note that it is not necessarily a good thing, but that was the situation at that time.

    • Interesting, bro, interesting. More please. I must have missed a lot of news on regional/ neighbourly intrigues and machinations, especially the kicking out of Singapore High Commission blokes.

      Good to know of Thaksin Shin Corp and Temasek connection with the Thai coup d’etat. Wish there’d be a Singapore coup, though not likely with the Isreli advisers there teaching the Singporeans how to squeeze the balls of their soldiers and keep their National Servicemen at bay.

      I suppose then that Singapore won’t play footsy footsy with mainland China. Perhaps making China wanting to mengurat Malaysia more than the red dot neighbour. (Haha, this kind of reference to them as red dot must have contributed to them attacking us more and more, intelligence-wise.)

      Wonder if China is looking at Penang and the DAP blokes as a base to operate from, espionage-wise. They are setting up a Consular office there, so many Chinese visiting Penang and the over-stayers must be many, occasionally out in the news caught working as GROs without permits and expired allowable periods of stay etc at the Karaoke lounges, foot and other kinds of massage houses. I’m not sure the visa relaxation by the Malaysian Government was good for the country or not.

      • Also on the news just now – increasing street demonstrations in Bangkok, wanting the government run by Thaksin’s sister to resign immediately.

        They say the sister is running the country as a proxy for Thaksin. Thaksin is on a self-imposed exile. Presumably scared to be arrested and thrown in jail if staying in Thailand.

        I think I read earlier that the protesters were against the draft law granting amnesty to law-breakers like Thaksin. Would he run to Singapore? Hehe.

      • I didn’t know that the Singapore High Commission blokes (in KL?) got “kicked out”. When did this happen?

        Anyway, playing footsy footsy is de rigeur in the world of international diplomacy and politics these days.

        Realpolitik dictates that there are no permanent enemies, only a divergence of agendas.

        As far as Singapore is concerned, it just played host to General Moeldoko, the Indonesian Armed Forces chief.

        This week it is hosting Zhao Leji, a senior Chinese Communist Party official and a member of the CCP Politburo.

        I think that it pays to have as many friends as possible in high places.

        And that posturing is best left to politicians and the blogosphere.

      • No Haba, you did not missed this stuff. Just that we did not discussed much about this in public and it requires some “insider knowledge” to connect the dot.

        More nuggets…

        In February 1987 Lee Hsien Loong, made it clear that his government saw armed conflict with Malaysia as a possibility. He went on to defend the policy of taking limited number of Malays into the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and then not placing them in militarily critical roles. Lee argued that the policy was intended to avoid dividing the soldier’s loyalties between their nation (Singapore) and their religion (Islam).

        – Tim Huxley, The Pacific Review Vol. 4, No. 3 dated 1991.

        This policy automatically banned the Malay/Muslim from becoming fighter and bomber pilots as well as from holding any other posts in the highly sophisticated electronic defence system of the SAF (where the main bulk of intelligence work being conducted – ELINT, COMINT). Instead they are employed in mostly administrative functions where they “posed” minimal security risk. That speaks volume of their paranoia towards Malay/Malaysia and explained their extensive investment in intelligence gathering capability.

        When our defense minister (one who said “Just because you have enemies, doesn’t mean your enemies are my enemies” and “The Chinese can patrol every day, but if their intention is not to go to war it is of less concern” in ASEAN forum) said that “We, too, have that kind of capability…”, he had either made a joke or simply made a clown out of himself. Our present capability is nowhere near what the Singaporean had developed over the years. Plus they received a decent amount of assistance and access to technology (particularly from US and Israel) that we don’t.

        The reason why Singaporean spy on us with near impunity is simple – because they can, and they know they can get away with it.

        We simply did not invest enough in defense and it is not something that we can overcome in a year or two even when we do have the money later. It is a long process and having incompetent leaders in this area does not help.

  5. It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?

    Here is Indonesia getting upset with Singapore over “spying” incidents, with SBY and Marty springing into action.

    But the Singapore Straits Times yesterday carried a report about Indonesia’s Commander-in-Chief of National Defence Forces, General Moeldoko, making a courtesy call on Singapore PM Lee Hsien Long.

    Gen Moeldoko also received the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) from Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Heng at an investiture ceremony at Mindef.

    The report said this was “in recognition of his (Gen Moeldoko’s) significant contributions in strengthening ties between the armies of both countries when he was chief of staff of the Indonesian Army…and showed unstinting support for key bilateral army exercises”.

    Perhaps the military, given the environment they operate, in are less exercised about such matters than politicians and diplomats.

  6. As a side topic, it is noted that South Korea is going to be the first Asian country to acquire the ultra-sophisticated F35 “stealth” fighter jets from the US.

    Next in line for F35s in the region would be Australia, Japan and possibly Singapore.

    That, if it materialises, would make RMAF’s MiG-29s and Sukhoi fighter jets kind of second tier.

    It’s interesting how the strategic map of the region is being redrawn.

    One hopes that the best thinkers and strategists in Malaysia are exercising their grey matter about these issues.

    After all, there isn’t going to be any seat at the table if you are deemed to be irrelevant and marginalised, is there?

    • Your Lordship, note that practically all “the President’s men” got voted in at the last party elections. Not without the help of Najib, people say.

      Najib even made himself look like a stupid fool, allowing Ahmad Zahid to table in Parliament ISA-like amendments to the Crime Prevention Act – 2 years detention without trial, extendable another 2 years – quite soon after Najib repealed the ISA etc. Zahid looked like a hero and got the highest votes as VP – Zahid was the first sitting VP who said the UMNO Presidency should not be contested. They scratched each other’s back. Or they had a pow wow well before the party elections nominations on back scratching.

      Now one UMNO VP – Najib’s cousin Hishamuddin – is Minister of Defence. He almost lost to first-timer Mukhriz, in fact lost Anwar/PR- style (by number of votes, though won by the electoral college votes). He was known as Menteri Amaran, Mat Lembik etc as Home Minister. And had not made any mark as Defence Minister. Does anyone think he’ll make any mark there? Or anywhere? They also say he got voted in as VP also with Najib and Najib’s tool, Khairy and Pemuda UMNO’s help. Would Hishamuddin speak for a strong, robust and well equipped armed forces? I don’t think he knows what it is. Wonder if the AF top brass can convince him. And if he will try to convince the cousin PM if Najib says no need.

      The key is Najib himself. Whatever he says, goes. Whatever he doesn’t say also goes – they figure out what he likes and doesn’t like done, and they’ll do and don’t do them. So, Chinese-pleasing, bending-backward Najib is the best thinker and strategist in Malaysia? Will do anything in terms of acquiring sophisticated defence assets that’ll be deemed as anti-Singaporean Chinese or any Chinese? I don’t think so. There you go.

      • PS:

        Najib my say no need, no war, keep the money for Chinese schools and the like.

      • Idris – what are the alternatives for Malaysia? Which “horse” does it back, given geo-political realities?

        Let’s see – there’s the US, China, Japan, India and, on the periphery, Russia and Australia.

        Indonesia is neither here nor there, and until they get their economy and finances under control, they will continue to be a bit player in the regional game, delusions of grandeur notwithstanding.

        Wasn’t it Dr Mahathir who instituted the “Look East” policy and a “pivoting away” from the US?

        Well, the chickens are coming home to roost now.

        I would hazard a guess that Malaysia doesn’t figure significantly in the strategic calculations of the US, China, Japan, India and Russia.

        The US has treaty allies in Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines and Thailand and burgeoning security relationships with India and Singapore.

        Why would it need Malaysia, when there is more “mileage” to be gained by cultivating Indonesia?

        It was Lee Kuan Yew’s strategic calculus that shaped Singapore’s economic and foreign policy, which, in essence, was that Singapore had to make itself relevant and useful to as many countries as possible.

        The benefits of which are now becoming apparent.

      • Not interested in your views. Or in responding to them. I noticed they have always been promoting Singapore, and this is a Malaysian blog.

        Nothing solid in your views. Nothing spectacular or reliable in the opinions you expressed in here. In fact, your opinions are of lower value and of questionable reliability as they are often disparaging but not well substantiated and justified.

        I may entertain comments from those promoting Malaysia in here – at least those not promoting Singapore in a Malaysian blog.

      • There you go, Idris. Again. How very convenient to dismiss my views as not being “solid” and not “reliable”.

        Pray then, for our edification, point out the flaws and inaccuracies in what I posted.

        Incidentally, how do you know that I am not a Malaysian? Or an American or Australian for that matter?

        Incidentally, if Wisma Putra has a foreign policy, then tell me where my views diverge from theirs.

        Otherwise, like most wannabe intellectuals, you don’t seem to have a leg to stand on – as far as regional political realities are concerned.

      • Tidak ada maruah punya manusia. Dikencingkan pun, masih menonjol-nonjolkan muka. Jenis ultra kiasu. Mendewa-dewakan Singapura. Ini tentu akan menjadi Fifth Column bila ada pertempuran dengan negara asing saperti Singapura.

        Saya yakin Police Special Branch ada memperhatikan mereka saperti ini. Polis tentu ada sediakan database bagi mereka yang ta’at setianya condong keSingapura yang VARUNA kata Lee Hsien Loong sendiri nampak ada kemungkinan “armed conflict” dengan kita. Supaya senang diberkas bila bila perlu.

        Yang dikencingkan, malahan dihalau kerana tak menghormati dan mematuhi Perlembagaan negara ini, sepatutnya berambus. KeCanada, Australia, dsbnya. DiAustralia, Perdana Menterinya ada menyuarakan tidak senang hatinya terhadap jenis ini. Maka sekarang berduyun duyun yang lain masuk ke UK. The Daily Telegraph melaporkan semalam

        “The majority of people migrating to Britain are now from China, figures have disclosed.

        Figures released by the Office for National Statistics disclose that 40,000 people came to the UK last year from the country, meaning that for the first time China has provided more migrants to Britain that any other nation.”

        Dengan pendirian Singapura sedemikian, jangan kita galakkan yang ultra kiasu berhijrah ke Singapura sebab tidak menjauhkan bahaya. Galakkan mereka ke UK dimana mereka tentu lebih suka ada ramai kaum mereka masuk kesana.

      • Mungkin Penulisan BD ini telah menggerakkan Menteri Pertahanan Malaysia berkata “Defence Ministry To Study New Aspects To Strengthen Malaysia’s Sovereignty”!

        “KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 (Bernama) — The Defence Ministry will carry out a study on the direction of the country’s defence, in an effort to empower and strengthen Malaysia’s sovereignty.

        Its minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, said the study, to be conducted early next year, would include looking into upgrading assets of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), as well as the condition and welfare of its members.”

        Dia juga berkata “We should not be satisfied with the current peaceful situation in the country, but must also look into how to ensure what we have now, could avoid future threats.” Keadaan di Malaysia sekarang ini aman? Definasi aman amat diketatkannya. “Avoid future threats” itu dimaksukannya “deterrent factor”? Jika demikian dia sepatutnya menyuarakan idea bagi penasihat Russia bertempat dinegara ini saperti penasihat Israel dan kapal kapal perang US singgah diSingapura bagi “routine maintenance”.

        Atau Malaysia dengan diam diam mulakan nuclear power diatas nama untuk tujuan tenaga letrik.

      • The US will use any nation to maintain its hegemony in Asia Pacific. It uses China economically to borrow money by selling bonds to China and sell its products to the super huge consumer market in China. Geo politics realities are changeable hence what most people see currently is nothing more than temporary alliance formation where the US actually plays nations in this region against each other, trying to make small nations feel vulnerable hence rushing to seek security alliances. The US is a super expert in playing the neo realist tune to its advantage, hence it sees it fit to use its ‘ axis of spy allies’ to spy on selected small nations , Malaysia included. The actions of using its spy allies to spy on Malaysia should set Malaysia into a wake up mode. Stand up and say we denounce all acts of spying on Malaysia’s governmental leaders and agencies transmitted via Malaysia’s sovereign air waves, air space and land territory. Don’t use too much euphemism as the act of spying itself is a violation of the basic code of international relations conduct.

  7. Pemimipin kita banggang dan pengecut.

    Pada 2011 & 2012, YB Wee Choo Keong telah 2 kali mengusulkan di Parliament untuk gubal akta mengawal pembiayaan wang asing seperti FARA, (Foreign Agents Registration Acts) di Amerika. (Termaktub sejak 1967 lagi).
    Russia baru saja mengubal undang-undang sama pada tahun 2011.
    Tapi Pengerusi Dewan tak ambil peduli dan tak dapat sokongan Ahli Parlimen BN yang lain. Mangkuk betul.

    Sudah deketahui umum bahawa Pembangkang dan portla media mereka menerima dana Asing. Ambiga pun pernah mengaku.

    Kelmarin Bukit Katil (Nama lupa…Si Ketot PKR) bawa usul di Parliament untuk mengutuk Singapura dan Amerika mengenai pengintipan. Malangnya di tolak oleh Pandikar Amin Mulia…. atas arahan Najib? Tak ada telor?

    Alangkah baiknya jika diluluskan. Baru terdedah semua kaitan pembiayaan asing kepada Party Politik, media & portal pembangkang.
    Dalam issue macam ni, baru boleh nampak Pembangkang dan BN boleh bersama dan bersatu mempertahankan Negara. Nak buat Majlis Konsultasi Perpaduan Negara ( MKPN ), buat apa. Lagi kelam-kabut ada la.

    Najib kata “bukan soal politik tetapi kita mahu mengambil perspektif jangka panjang untuk masa depan negara”
    Kata “program-program yang diatur juga perlu lebih bersifat neutral, bukan berkisar kepada agama dan kaum”.

    Ini lah kesempatan paling elok untuk kita yang berbagai fahaman politik untuk bersatu.
    Boleh juga kita tengok siapa yang takut atau enggan mengutuk Singapura atau pun Amerika.

    Pi buat MKPN atau NUCC dan lantik artis dan orang yang penyokong gadai kalimah Allah, buat apa.
    Banggang punya pemimpin.

  8. I do not understand why some Malaysians think that Singapore does not spy on us and take advantage of our beloved Malaysia ta every turn. Just take the CLOB for example. There were 12 crashed on the KLSE before the split in 2000. Since then, there is none. I noticed Singapore digitalised their Immigration and Government forms in 1972 when their super duper computers became operational. The Malaysian Immigration Dept computers were dysfunctional in 2000 and had to be kicked-start. With a full Cabinet which manages a full-fledged military and put on alert all the time, the Republic of Singapore needs as many spies as possible to gather information in preparedness for defence. Without secret information about their friends and neighbours whom they disdain, they are blind. In a way, this exhibits the distrust of the rule of internatioinal law and diplomacy between nations. This also illustrates very clearly that all that is to Singapore’s interest is gobbled up and those otherwise are discarded.
    With such a compassionless view of the World, there is no wonder why the brilliant Lee Kuan Yew’s 12 failed Policies for Singapore are coming home to roost !

    • Kalau boleh tolong senaraikan “Lee Kuan Yew’s 12 failed Policies for Singapore” itu.

      Kalau ramai dah tahu pun, perlu sambalkan mulut sipembasuh bontot Lee Kuan Yew yang ada mencelah di blog ini, yang diatas itu.

  9. “We won’t do anything to harm Malaysian, Indonesian interests,” says Singapore Foreign Minister. But can we trust him and the Singapore Government? Having Zionist Jews as Military Advisers in our midst is not harmful to our interest?

    He said Singapore is banking on Jakarta’s and Malaysia’s understanding in preserving its relationship with them. But they are not bothered to understand our concern for their spying on us with others?

    Do we just keep quiet when they are ultra kiasu? Bloody selfish and care only for their own interest even when it is injurious to our interest?

  10. “Nurul Izzah’s damning fallacy about Special Branch assigning 30 officers to London ..” – Immature, unthinking woman, previously condemned for saying Malays can choose religion.

    This country is going to the dogs, isn’t it – voting such an immature woman – even seditious on the Islamic religion – in 2008 and again in 2013.after showing more immature thoughts and words.

  11. In international relations, taking words and statements of one’s competitor at face value is never a good idea. Diplomacy is a multi layered skill..where nodding one’s head doesn’t mean one agrees but it simply means one understands. Saying that one ‘ values relations with another nation ‘ doesn’t mean that value is the denominator of the relations, rather it simply means relations depend on the process of selectivity eg. no interest no go. Malaysia has to be smarter than it is now. Being pally with a particular nation doesn’t mean that everything will neatly fall into place, hence we must never be swayed by our own false assumptions that being pally will benefit us at every step of the way. The ways of the international system and the nations that orbit within it is anarchic and our best defence is our own vigilance and to be more circumspect towards all that orbit within the international system. Only then can we anticipate the worst and the worst in this case is nations that we have been pally, pally with are spying on us. So, who says anyone can do foreign relations? Leave it to the experts and professionals on diplomacy and foreign relations and pay attention to their counsels instead of hiring outside consultants.

    • Wow, postgrad – that’s a very pragmatic viewpoint.

      Reading the various comments posted on this topic, I get the impression that Malaysians feel that in spite of “feel good” statements from the government, we are not in control of our own destiny.

      But in a globalised multilateral world, how does one navigate to protect one’s national interests, especially when race and religion come into the picture?

      • The Government must implement Single-stream education first, merge the Chinese schools etc with the National Schools, use the Sedition Act etc to get the DAP and the pendatang not racist but respect and abide by the Constitution, including the sensitive Articles which are protected by the Sedition Act.

        When those happen, we all become Malaysians and speak globally as Malaysians. All national interests will be “Malaysian” national interests. Nobody has to shoo anybody out for not respecting and living by the Constitution of the country.

        Why the pendatang got to do it first? Because before the advent of the pendatang,Malaya was just Malays. Now they can speak up, but not against the interests of the Malays. They do that and not be ultra kiasu, then we can all be Malaysians.

        Until that happens, the status quo will prevail, all talk about unity and all sorts of unity councils will come to nought.


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