Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Asia Sentinel has released the full text of two secret US diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Singapore about political developments in Malaysia after the general election in 2008

WikiLeaks: S’pore blames Samy Vellu for 2008 election losses

FRIDAY 21 JAN 2011 MYT 03:20:29

tags: Najib Tun Razak, Wikileaks

Najib an ‘opportunist’, haunted by Altantuya murder
MIC to be blamed for BN’s election loss
Pas will become pragmatic, less radical
Umno will go in the other direction
S’pore pessimisstic about Malaysia’s future

Asia Sentinel has released the full text of two secret US diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Singapore about political developments in Malaysia after the general election in 2008.

The cables were released to an Australian newspaper last month. They were not published at WikiLeaks, nor were the full texts published by the newspaper.

Asia Sentinel did not say how it obtained the cables nor from whom.

WikiLeaks cable ref:
13 March 2008

US Ambassador Patricia L. Herbold filed a cable to the US State Department about her lunch meeting with the civil service head of the Singapore foreign ministry, the permanent secretary Peter Ho.

They met on March 12, four days after the general election upset in Malaysia that resulted in Pakatan Rakyat winning power in five states and Barisan Nasional losing its two-third majority in Parliament.

The Ambassador and … Peter Ho met over lunch on March 12, discussing issues including Singapore’s perceptions of the elections in Malaysia. Ho said that in Singapore “everybody was shocked” by the extraordinarily strong showing by the opposition in Malaysia. People knew that change was coming, perhaps one election down the road, but did not anticipate that change could come this fast.

2. Ho said that on the ruling National Front (BN) side, PM Abdullah Badawi is probably done for politically, despite having been sworn in again as PM on March 10. Former PM Mahathir Mohamad will keep throwing stones at Abdullah. The political knives will be out for Abdullah’s son-in-law UMNO politician Khairy Jamaluddin, whom nobody likes because he got where he is through family ties.

As for Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, he is an opportunist. Although he has not been critical of Singapore, he will not hesitate to go in that direction if it is expedient for him to do so. Najib’s political fortunes continue to be haunted by the Mongolian murder scandal. (Note: The scandal involves the ongoing trial of Najib’s former political adviser Abdul Razak Baginda for abetting the 2006 murder of the Mongolian woman who had been Abdul Razak’s ex-lover; two policemen from Najib’s protective detail also are on trial for carrying out the murder. End Note.)

The MIC’s Samy Vellu bears a large share of the responsibility for the BN’s poor showing in the elections. The Indian community’s unhappiness, which helped create the current political dynamic in Malaysia, reflects the fact that Samy Vellu neglected the interests of the Indian community, even when its temples were being destroyed, focusing instead on his business activities in India, Ho said.

3. Ho stated that on the opposition side, former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim came out of the elections in a strong position, as shown by the electoral victories by his wife (whom Ho commented he has met and finds very impressive) and his daughter. The Islamic PAS will be pushed in a more pragmatic, less radical direction by its increased proximity to real political power.

Within the ruling coalition, UMNO could find itself pulled in the opposite direction as it comes under increasing pressure to compete with PAS, Ho said.

4. Ho expressed pessimism about Malaysia’s future prospects. Malaysians from the Chinese and Indian minority communities keep leaving the country. The relative size of the Malay Muslim majority keeps increasing. As a result, more Malaysian students are studying in religious schools and fewer are studying in more rigorous secular schools. This is harming Malaysia’s international competitiveness, Ho said.


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