Sep 27, 2006

Former Envoy Urges Wisma Putra To Lodge Protest To Singapore Quickly

Former Envoy Urges Wisma Putra To Lodge Protest To Singapore Quickly

JOHOR BAHARU, Sept 27 (Bernama) -- A former Malaysian ambassador has urged the Foreign Ministry to lodge a protest with the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur over the provocative remark by Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew regarding Malaysia's Chinese minority.

Datuk Syed Hussein Al-Habshee, the former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said the ministry should take a firmer stand and hand over a protest note to the Singapore High Commissioner quickly instead of waiting for weeks before doing it.

"Our delay (in handing over the protest note) is regrettable and shows we are not firm in the matter. If the same thing had happened to Singapore, we can guarantee that they will lodge a protest quickly," he told Bernama Wednesday.


Lee had told a forum in Singapore recently that Malaysia and Indonesia were systematically marginalising their Chinese minorities because they were hard-working and successful.

MCA and Gerakan leaders lashed back at Lee, saying the former Singapore premier was wrong and should apologise.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said he would write to Lee to seek an explanation for the remark which insulted Malaysia.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry, Tuesday summoned the Singaporean ambassador in Jakarta to ask for a clarification and to deliver a letter of protest to the Singaporean government over Lee's remark.

The ministry also instructed its officials at the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore to meet high-ranking officials at Singapore's Foreign Ministry to get further clarification.

Several Indonesian lawmakers expressed outrage over Lee's remark and accused him of spreading lies and posing a danger to Indonesian and Asean unity.

Syed Hussein said he believed Lee made the remark as a calculative move to test the level of tolerance of Malaysia and Indonesia.

He said it was unbelievable that Lee did not know his remark was extremely sensitive to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.

"He was aware and knew his remark was very sensitive but used it as a strategy to assess the level of tolerance of Malaysia and Indonesia," he said.

-- BERNAMA

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