Insecurity over Bersih

JUNE 23 — Whichever way you look at it, the decision by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman to summon the Singapore High Commissioner to protest again the presence of three Singapore diplomats at Bersih 3.0 says more about the insecurity of the Malaysian government than anything else.

Diplomats the world over are supposed to report back to the headquarters accurately on events happening in countries where they are based.

They should not become conduits of information spun by the Opposition or get their information from the pages of the government-controlled media.

As far as possible they must roll back the layers of fluff and subterfuge and tell their government back home the real situation.

For example, you would hope that Malaysian diplomats in Indonesia are able to inform Wisma Putra whether the groundswell of anti-Malaysia sentiment is manufactured or real.

In the case of Bersih 3.0, if you sat in your office and depended on the Bersih press release, you would have told the Singapore government that 250,000 Malaysians took part and that the Malaysian police used excessive violence.

If you depended on Datuk Seri Utama  Rais Yatim, you would have told the Singapore government that only 22,000 Malaysians took part and that the police were provoked into action.

It is embarrassing that the Najib administration has behaved in this manner. It betrays an insecurity of an administration which seems to be making one misstep after another and an administration which seems to believe that the presence of foreign diplomats at Bersih or Opposition functions legitimises Pakatan Rakyat as the next occupants of Putrajaya.

Of course, the conspiracy theorists will also point out that historically when the BN government is in a pickle, they have opened their playbook and brought out the Singapore bogeyman to “unite” Malaysians.

That Mahathir era tactic seems a waste of time today. Anifah’s action of summoning the Singapore diplomats speaks volumes of the culture of insecurity and fear coursing through the veins of Malaysian government leaders.

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