Bersih: Singapore explains

Singapore has made it clear that none of its diplomatic staff in Malaysia was engaged in the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28, and that all newspaper and blog reports about their participation was unfounded and baseless.

Speaking to the Republic's parliamentarians yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said that both Singapore and Malaysia have no interest in undermining the good relations between both sides (read the full transcript).

"The allegations are false... the officers were at the rally as impartial observers, just like diplomats from more than 10 other countries," he said, adding that it is regrettable that some elements in the Malaysian media and blogs have chosen to focus only on Singapore and have deliberately tried to misrepresent the issue.

The minister pointed out the Singapore officers did not wear yellow, the colour of support for Bersih and avoided Merdeka Square, which had been declared out of bounds by Malaysian authorities.

"The Singaporean diplomats in KL are present at a wide range of social, economic and political activities in Malaysia.

"This is part of their professional diplomatic duties, like any other embassy or high commission, and their actions were in accordance with the Vienna Convention."

Shanmugam said Singapore is "comfortable and confident that our diplomats acted well within the bounds of the law".

He said he had conveyed these points twice to his Malaysian counterpart Anifah Aman, over two separate phone calls.

Singapore and Malaysia, he stressed, have every intention of preserving the positive bilateral relationship that both sides have worked hard to build.

NOTE: How did he know that diplomats from 10 other countries were also there?

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