PETALING JAYA: A Pakatan Harapan (PH) MP today took fire at a former top Singapore diplomat for accusing Putrajaya of trying to use the city-state as bogeyman to distract attention from political instability in Malaysia.
Klang MP Charles Santiago said the remarks by Bilahari Kausikan in a lecture at the National University of Singapore last week showed his “shallow analytical skills”, adding that this was previously exposed when the former diplomat took seriously a satirical piece on Malaysian politics.
“He shared an article by parody news site, The Tapir Times, which claimed that Dr Mahathir’s party, PPBM, vowed to only accept Umno MPs who have fewer than 10 pending criminal charges.
“If Kausikan can’t understand parody from a self-identified troll website, I wonder how he comprehends regional politics.”
Kausikan, who was the permanent secretary to the Singapore foreign ministry and still seen as influential in the republic’s foreign policies, had among others said that the PH government was unstable and needed a “whipping boy” in the form of Singapore.
Kausikan also said the nine-month-old government headed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad was falling apart amid waning support from Malays.
Santiago said the remarks were not only “unbefitting of a long-standing diplomat”, but also “ludicrous” and aimed at taking potshots to generate personal publicity.
“There isn’t enough Listerine around to remove the bitterness from this man’s mouth,” he said.
He admitted “teething problems” faced by the ruling coalition but said “we are certainly not collapsing”.
“The new government embraces differences of opinion and is welcoming of people verbalising their dissenting views.
“One cannot deny that there is an opening up of democratic space in Malaysia. We cannot say the same about Singapore, can we?” said Santiago.