Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam stands by his earlier comments on the activists who met with Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad last week, according to his press secretary Mr Sunny Lee.
Mr Lee responded to a complaint letter by historian Thum Ping-tjin, freelance journalist Kirsten Han and activist Jolovan Wham, and added, “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 sent out similar letters to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and to Mr Charles Chong, chairman of the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods.
The activists urged PM Lee to look into the “irresponsible behaviour” of Mr Shanmugam and Mr Seah, who are members of the PAP “in positions of power”.
Speaking at an event on Sunday, Mr Shanmugam said that while it is the people’s right to have political differences in Singapore, one should “never go out and invite a foreign politician to intervene in our domestic politics”.
He also added that issues of sovereignty are “extremely important”, and described the whole conduct of the Singaporeans involved as “a little sad” and “a bit regretful”.
In a press statement, Mr Sunny Lee said that the purpose of the activists’ letter was to “divert attention from the conduct of the writers”.
He added that Mr Shanmugam “has no desire to prolong this matter. He will nevertheless respond to their complaints, to put the facts on the record”.
In the statement, Mr Lee said that Dr Thum invited Dr Mahathir to “take leadership in Southeast Asia for the promotion of democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and freedom of information”.
He also said that Dr Thum further invited Dr Mahathir to address a conference about promoting democracy in South-east Asia, “which obviously includes Singapore”.
Mr Lee then added that Mr Tan gave an interview after the meeting, “also expressing the hope that Dr Mahathir and Malaysia could influence politics in Singapore”.
Mr Lee also referenced Dr Thum’s other Facebook posts “to similar effect, about Singapore being part of Malaya”
“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”, Mr Sunny Lee said in his statement.
Netizens were still outraged at Mr Thum, Ms Han and Mr Wham, and took to Facebook to express it.