MFA express disappointment in measures by US senators

MFA express disappointment in measures by US senators

By Terry Xu

On Sunday, 17th March 2013, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) released a media release on its response towards the introduction of a measure to block US funding to Singapore’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME). The Ministry says that it is “deeply disappointed” by the Senator’s actions and statements.

US Senators. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both who are Democrats, had introduced an amendment to the continuing resolution in the US senate floor on 14th of March to block Defense Department funds from Shane Todd’s Singapore employer, IME. The two senators proposed to have the research funds withheld until the FBI has full access to evidence in the American’s death investigation.

Shane Todd, an American was found hanging in his apartment in Singapore in June after his last day of work in IME. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) initially classified Shane Todd’s a suicide. But Todd’s parents, Rick and Mary Todd of Marion, Mont. believe that the death was a murder. Proclaiming that it is an alleged conspiracy to hide the illegal transfer of sensitive technology by IME to a Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei.

“We are deeply disappointed by the Senators’ actions and statements.” said MFA in their press release. They expressed their disappointment over the request from the senators to allow FBI’s access to the investigation just solely based on the version of the facts provided by Shane Todd’s family.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam had previously met up with Senator Baucus in Washington DC on 12 March 2013, and told the Senator that the SPF was prepared to share relevant evidence with the FBI in accordance with the legal framework of both countries.

MFA states that all information gathered by SPF has been kept from the public, as investigations are still ongoing. There will be a public Coroner’s inquiry to lay out the facts so as to determine the cause of Todd’s death.

Minister Shanmugam reiterated this at a press conference after the meeting, along with SPF, which has publicly spoken that it will be committed in taking into account any information, and evidence that the FBI may independently gather.

He also pointed out that IME was subject to rigorous internal audits and that IME was prepared to have a team from the US conduct a process audit on the institution.

MFA states that there should not have been an issue of the two countries of applying “pressure”  on one another, given the long, open and cooperative relationship between them. It was emphasized that Singapore has made every effort to be open and transparent in both the investigation of Mr Todd’s death and the IME’s projects.