The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) responded to a letter of complaint filed by activists Kirsten Han, Jolovan Wham and Thum Ping-tjin against “highly irresponsible” remarks made by a government minister and an MP.
The MHA replied saying that the three had “crossed a red line by inviting foreign leaders to intervene in Singapore politics”.
“The three individuals claim that they are patriots. It is not patriotic to invite any foreign leader to intervene in Singapore politics, especially the leader of a country who has declared his desire to increase the price of water to Singapore by more than 10 times, and with whom we seek to maintain close and friendly relations.”
The MHA letter was signed by Mr Sunny Lee, press secretary to Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.
The three activists alleged that MP Seah Kian Peng and Mr Shanmugam, had made public allegations “without adequate substantiation or evidence”.
In their letter to PM Lee, the trio called on him as the PAP secretary-general to look into the issue and “take leadership in promoting responsible behaviour among members of your party”.
The MHA also said: “Mr Tan, a former Singaporean and a fugitive from the law, gave an interview after the meeting, also expressing the hope that Dr Mahathir and Malaysia could influence politics in Singapore.
“Mr Wham has asked ‘what’s wrong’ in Dr Thum asking Dr Mahathir to bring democracy to Singapore, and that ‘international political pressure is part of activism’.
“Dr Thum also believes that Singapore should be part of Malaya.”
The MHA also said that Dr Thum ”has also made several other posts, to similar effect, about Singapore being part of Malaya.”
The MHA statement concluded: “We can have vigorous debates within Singapore about our own affairs. But you cross a red line when you invite foreign powers or foreign leaders into Singapore politics.”
The activists, for their part, said in their letter to PM Lee that there was “no reference to bringing democracy to Singapore, nor any request to interfere in Singapore’s affairs”.
They added: “It is a huge stretch to suggest that wishing Singaporeans a ‘happy unofficial independence day’ is tantamount to expressing an opinion that Singapore is a part of Malaysia today.”