In exclusive stories over the weekend, the trio also trashed Japan, India and Thailand, according The Sunday Age
and the Sydney Morning Herald
which reported separately that Singaporean officials believed
opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had been set up by the Malaysian
government over the charges of sexual perversion that he is on trial for
now, but that he was probably guilty.
The Sunday Age reported that Malaysia is in "dangerous decline," fueled
by incompetent politicians, that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak could be
prosecuted over the gruesome 2006 murder of Mongolian translator
Altantuya Shaaribuu if the ruling national coalition were to lose power,
and that the situation in the country is "confused and dangerous,"
fueled by the distinct possibility of racial conflict that could see
ethnic Chinese fleeing Malaysia to "overwhelm" Singapore.
The officials who made the comments in separate meetings with senior US
officials were foreign affairs chiefs Peter Ho, Bilahari Kausikan and
Tommy Koh, according to the Age article. The trio at the time occupied
some of the most senior positions in Singapore's Foreign Affairs
Ministry. They all gave US officials damning assessments of Malaysia,
according to the stories.
Moreover, the trio said, Thailand is dogged by corruption and a ''very
erratic'' crown prince, Japan is a ''big fat loser'' and India is
Although the newspapers speculated that the reports would raise a storm
among Singapore's neighbors, Singapore's neighbors have long known of
the island country's superior attitude. The quotes in the story merely
ratify what is already known. It should be pointed out that Singapore,
predominantly made up of ethnic Chinese, has always privately held the
view that the surrounding countries have been ruled by hostile, often
crooked incompetents who are mostly inferior to the technocrats who run
the island republic.
Singaporean authorities have been perennially worried about a Muslim
threat to their island country from both Indonesia and Malaysia,
formulating the famed "poisoned shrimp" strategy that in a phrase means
"swallow us and we will kill you." Singapore thus has a bigger, more
modern and more competent air force than Malaysia and Indonesia
''A lack of competent leadership is a real problem for Malaysia,''
Kausikan told US Deputy Secretary of Defence for East Asia David Sedney
in one cable, according to the story, citing the need for Najib Razak -
now Malaysia's Prime Minister - to ''prevail politically in order to
avoid prosecution'' in connection with a 2006 murder investigation
linked to one of Mr Razak's aides.
''Najib Razak has his neck on the line in connection with a high-profile murder case,'' Kausikan said, according to the story.
As Asia Sentinel has reported in a long series of stories since
Altantuya's murder in October of 2006, Malaysia placed a US$1 billion
order for two Scorpènes in a deal engineered by then-defense minister
and Deputy Prime Minister Najib. In exchange, a company wholly owned by
Najib's close friend, Abdul Razak Baginda, was paid €114 million in
"commissions," according to testimony in the Malaysian parliament.
Caught up in it, besides Najib and Razak Baginda, was Altantuya, who was
shot in the head and whose body was blown up with military grade
explosives. Razak Baginda, her jilted lover, was charged along with two
of Najib's bodyguards but was acquitted under unusual cir*****stances
without having to put on a defense. Before she was murdered, Altantuya
told witnesses she was to be paid US$500,000 for her role in the
After his release Razak Baginda immediately decamped for Oxford University and apparently hasn't set foot in Malaysia since.
The case, however, remains alive in France. In April, three French
lawyers, William Bourdon, Renaud Semerdjian and Joseph Breham filed a
case with prosecutors in Paris on behalf of the Malaysian human rights
organization Suaram, which supports good-governance causes. In an email,
Breham said he and Bourdon are expected to be in Southeast Asia to ask
more questions this week. It is unclear if they will visit the
In the Sydney Morning Herald's story on Anwar, ''The Australians said
that Singapore's intelligences services and [Singaporean elder
statesman] Lee Kuan Yew have told (Australia's Office of National
Assessments) in their exchanges that opposition leader Anwar 'did indeed
commit the acts for which he is currently indicted'.''
"The do*****ent states the Singaporeans told ONA they made this assessment
on the basis of ''technical intelligence,' which is likely to relate to
intercepted communications. The ONA is also recorded as saying that
Anwar's political enemies engineered the cir*****stances from which the
sodomy charges arose. "ONA assessed, and their Singapore counterparts
concurred, 'it was a set-up job and he probably knew that, but walked
into it anyway','' the cable states.
In Malaysian media Sunday, Anwar charged he was not guilty and that
Malaysia's Special Branch was behind the story and had fed it to the
In Kausikan's September 2008 meeting with Sedney, according to the
story, "Kausikan savages Thailand's political elite, labelling Thaksin
Shinawatra as ''corrupt'' along with ''everyone else, including the
opposition." Kausikan is also critical of Thaksin's relationship with
the Thai crown prince, stating that Thaksin ''made a mistake in pursuing
a relationship with the crown prince by paying off the crown prince's
"Kausikan said the crown prince was 'very erratic, and easily subject to
influence','' the cable states, while also saying that Kausikan warned
of continued instability in Thailand. The statement by Kausikan about
Thailand's prince and heir apparent, Vajiralongkorn, could open him to
charges of lese majeste if he were to visit the Thai kingdom.
According to the story, "in a September 2009 meeting with US officials,
senior Singaporean foreign affairs official Tommy Koh savages Japan and
India in relation to the impact on both countries of China's increasing
'''Koh described Japan as 'the big fat loser' in the context of
improving ties between China and Asean. He attributed the relative
decline of Japan's stature in the region to Japan's 'stupidity, bad
leadership, and lack of vision','' the cable says, according to the
story. ''He was equally merciless towards India, describing his 'stupid
Indian friends' as 'half in, half out' of Asean.''
Other notable comments about regional affairs made by Kausikan in
September 2008, according to the story, include his reported claims
- Burma's neighbors, including China and India, are ''more concerned
with stability than justice'' and they feared the Burmese junta's demise
could produce ''an Asian reprise of the breakup of Yugoslavia''.
- He would be ''more comfortable with a nuclear-capable North Korea than a nuclear-capable Iran''.
- Russia's economy is ''Third World'', its health system a shambles and its demographic challenges almost insurmountable.
- Koh is recorded praising China's ''investment and intelligent
diplomacy in the region''. ''I don't fear China. I don't fear being
assimilated by China.'' The story quotes the cable as stating that he
pointed to China's decision to invest in Africa ''without lecturing them
about human rights and democracy as the West does''.