Singapore Has No Regards For Diplomatic Procedures, Says Ex-Envoy

BANGKOK, Jan 17 (Bernama) — Singapore has failed to understand a well- known diplomatic procedure where a person considered as “enemy” of another government should not be given official treatment, a former Thai diplomat to Singapore said today.

“Singapore should realise that in international law and diplomacy, such person should not be allowed to carry out activities that can harm a friendly government from its soil,” said Asda Jayanama in an interview here.

Given the nature of Singapore’s political system, Asda said he doubted that deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s recent visit and his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar was purely social and private as claimed by the Singapore Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“I suspect it had something to do with Temasek Holdings’ purchase of Shin Corporation. There is a lot of problems in the deal,” he added.

The company was sold by Thaksin’s family for 73 billion baht in a controversial deal in 2005.

“Although there is no general guidelines on Thaksin’s global travel, the Thai government would treat each travel on a case-by-case basis. This is odd as it’s widely known that the Thai government was unhappy with his movements and travelling to some countries lately,” he added.

The Thai Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday that it was withdrawing an invitation for Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo to visit Bangkok at the end of the month, as well as suspending the Thailand-Singapore Civil Service Exchange Programme.

Asda said Singapore should learn from other Asean members regarding Thailand’s sensitivity over Thaksin who was ousted in a coup on Sept 19, citing the reluctance of the Philippines and Malaysian leaders to fulfil Thaksin’s request to meet them after the coup last year.

Besides that, it was also reported that a senior leader of the republic had proposed a provision in the Asean Charter that any government coming out of a coup should not be recognised, said Asda.

But Asda, who served from 1986 to 1990 in the republic as well as to the United Nations from 1996 to 2001, said the Thai Foreign Ministry had also fumbled badly in handling the whole issue as they had prior knowledge of Thaksin’s visit to Singapore after being informed by its ambassador to Thailand, Peter Chan.

“The ministry lacks finesse and has not been totally transparent. Upon being informed by the ambassador, the ministry should have asked for his detailed programme, including where he was going, whom he was meeting…his CNN appearance. They should then quickly advice the prime minister but it appeared this did not happen.”

In fact, Asda said, the ministry was ignorant of this until Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont expressed his concern.

“It appears that top officials at the ministry still have their hearts and mind with Thaksin and his people. The ministry is not in tune with the government or the Council for National Security (formed by the military after the coup).”

Asda, however, said he still believed the action taken by the ministry was a right move and hoped it could explain other deals in Singapore initiated by Thaksin during his reign.

He said there was a massive development project planned at a premier site belonging to the Thai embassy in Singapore and urged the ministry to inform the public about the project.

With major local newspapers playing up the issue, Asda said there was a possibility of anti-Singapore feeling increasing in the country, with facilities given to the Singapore military to conduct training in Udon Thani and Kanchanaburi probably being the next issue to be raised.

Singapore is one of the major investors in the kingdom and last year, bilateral trade between the two countries totalled nearly US$13 billion (466 billion baht).

— BERNAMA

Related Article
Temasek to be held accountable for purchase of Shin

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About soci
Lived in Singapore for 6 wonderful years and has been blogging since 2003, under various names but always on Singaporean issues.

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