I had earlier written a blogpost about the visit of Johor caretaker chief Minister Abdul Ghani to Singapore, to canvas for votes from Johorians who work and reside in the city-state.
It is interesting that there seems to be different ways as to how different countries deal with, and interpret the idea of “interfering with the domestic politics of foreign countries”.
It was reported on 18th April that,
the Singapore Consulate-General in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, received a memorandum regarding a Singapore-registered car in Johor that had logos supporting the campaign of a political party in Malaysia.
The Consulate-General later stated that,
Singapore does not interfere in the domestic politics of other countries, just as Singapore expects other countries not to interfere in Singapore’s domestic politics.
It was later reported on 26th April that,
Johor police chief Mokhtar Shariff said foreign visitors to the state must behave like tourists and not spend their time getting involved in campaigning for any party.
The police will investigate and take action on any reports of such involvement, he told a press conference for the local media yesterday.
The Johor police chief’s statements came amid newspaper and online reports that Singapore-registered cars had been seen with opposition stickers and at opposition events.
Here, we noted the stringent stance taken by the Malaysian authorities in not allowing any foreigners to partake in any political activities in Malaysia.
As I had written in Part 1, it is rather amazing that a BN candidate and caretaker Chief Minister at that, can campaign in the territory of Malaysia’s neighbor, and even get publicity (even by the Singapore press) and also seen as an action not inappropriate.
In Malaysia, even normal people such as tourists are warned against taking part in any campaign activities. Why is it so that in Singapore, a ruling party BN candidate, and an office holder from Malaysia, can visit and bring his own political campaign to the city-state to canvas for votes from his fellow Johorians, while at the same time attracting media attention from both sides of the Causeway?
In Malaysia, foreigners visiting Malaysia are not even allowed to partake in any Malaysian politics. Why is it that in Singapore, it seems alright for a foreign politician to visit and carry out political activities on behalf of his own party, which is foreign-based?
Since when, has Singapore become a backyard for Malaysian politicians, where they can just easily drop by and carry out non-Singapore related political activities? Does Abdul Ghani possibly view Singapore as an outpost of Johor state?
Can Singapore politicians drop by as easily to Johor Baru (JB) over the campaign period come Singapore elections due in 2016, in order to canvas for votes from the many Singaporeans who visit JB for food and to spend the weekend there relaxing? Will the Malaysian press provide coverage to the Singapore politicians as well by then? Or will they complain about the presence of foreign politicians on their land for the purpose of foreign related political activities?
Looking at how some Malaysian politicians such as Dr Mahathir, who will not hesitate to criticize, say bad things and spit venom about the city-state’s ruling PAP whenever they have the slightest chance, does those in Singapore believe in reciprocation from the Malaysian side come 2016?
If no reciprocation is to be expected for the Singapore politicians if they were to visit Malaysia come 2016 to canvas for votes, why is there still no voice of protest or some sounds of unhappiness coming out from the press or some other channels? Instead what we see are nearly “Live” or nearly “instant” twitter updates from Singapore press correspondents covering the Malaysian elections, showing Ghani arriving by bus, and entering the Tuas checkpoint.
What if tomorrow or the day after, Abdul Ghani’s opponent in Gelang Patah – Lim Kit Siang – we’re to decide to follow suit and descend upon Singapore to canvas for votes from Johorians working and residing in Singapore? Lim Kit Siang had already said he might do so.
If Singapore allows Lim Kit Siang to do so, won’t it be possibly acknowledging that Singapore is an outpost of Malaysia where politicians from across the causeway can visit for their own political purposes, of course at the same time risk incurring the irks of Singaporeans?
If Singapore disallows Lim Kit Siang to do so, won’t it possibly risk Lim or the PR for alleging that Singapore is taking sides in the political activities of Malaysia?
Will people wonder what is Singapore doing, or what is its stance on this issue?