Friday June 22, 2012
Singapore envoy: Our personnel were not at Bersih to support protesters
By PAUL GABRIEL
KUALA LUMPUR: Three Singapore High Commission officials who attended the Bersih 3.0 rally did not go there to support the protesters, High Commissioner Ong Keng Yong said.
He explained that the three his deputy Ariel Tan and first secretaries (political) Regina Low and Philomena Aw went in their personal capacities and were not on any official assignment.
He said April 28 being a Saturday, the three members of his mission were free to make use of the weekend to go to the scene. He denied that any had worn a yellow Bersih T-shirt.
“Many diplomats from other countries also went to the site of the rally, so why just pick on our three ladies? I am very suspicious of their motives.
“We enjoy very close relations with Malaysia now and I feel outraged over these allegations,'' he told The Star.
Ong was responding to reports in certain blogs which identified the three women, alleging that they went to the rally to be “actively involved”.
The blogs stated that this was a clear contravention of ethics under the Vienna Convention. One posting also accused Low of wearing a yellow Bersih T-shirt on that day.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman had, during a luncheon with Asean heads of mission on June 11, told them that he received reports about the involvement of foreign diplomats in street demonstrations, citing the Bersih rally.
He expressed concern that the diplomats concerned could have got involved or injured in unfortunate incidents.
Ong, a former Asean secretary-general, said he took Anifah's comments and advice in good faith.
“As the Foreign Minister, he was giving his views. It was not directed at the Asean ambassadors only as he was also meeting with other groups of ambassadors,'' he added.
Ong pointed out that his Government had rejected a request to hold a Bersih rally in the republic.
He also rejected allegations that there was a Singapore group which was interfering in Malaysia's political scene via social networking sites, adding that those involved were actually Malaysians working and living in Singapore.