Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia’s foreign ministry summoned a senior Singaporean diplomat on Tuesday over allegations that the city-state has helped the United States and Australia tap telecommunications links in Asia for espionage. Singapore’s government has not publicly responded to the allegations, which were published yesterday in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald and cite documents from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said in a statement that his ministry was seeking clarification from Singapore’s high commissioner, or ambassador, to Malaysia. “If those allegations are eventually proven, it is certainly a serious matter that the government of Malaysia strongly rejects and abhors,” Anifah said.
He said that spying against a good friend and neighbor was unacceptable. Anifah’s ministry earlier this month protested to U.S. and Australian embassy officials over accusations that their diplomatic missions house surveillance equipment used to collect electronic communications.
The Sydney Morning Herald report said a National Security Agency map published by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad this past week confirmed that Singapore played a role in helping the US and other intelligence partners tap undersea cables. Similar spying allegations rocked relations between Indonesia and Australia this month, with Jakarta recalling its ambassador, downgrading relations and suspending cooperation on people-smuggling after reports of Australian tapping the phones of Indonesia’s president, his wife and eight Indonesian ministers and officials in 2009.