Speaking on sidelines of a grassroots event on Sunday, Home Affairs and Law Minister, K Shanmugam made comments about historian Thum Ping Tjin and his meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, indirectly suggesting that Dr Thum had invited a foreign politician to intervene in Singapore's domestic politics.
Just yesterday, Member of Parliament Seah Kian Peng published a Facebook post, alleging that Dr Thum is inviting PM Mahathir to bring democracy to Singapore and suggest that Singapore is part of Malaya. Seah's post was widely reported by the Mainstream Papers and shared by pro-PAP fan pages including the People's Action Party's official fan page.
Mr Shanmugam also shared Mr Seah's FB post, saying that Seah made some good points about the very surprising statements that are being made of Singapore's sovereignty.
It is unknown what the minister was asked for the statement he made, but as shown in the video by Channel News Asia, Mr Shamugam said:
I think the whole conduct is a little bit sad, quite regretful
We can have political differences within Singapore. That is normal, it is people's right. But we should never go out and invite someone foreign, foreign politician to intervene in our domestic politics.
I think that is an absolute no-no.
I mean Dr Thum puts up a photo holding his book on politics in Singapore shaking hands with a Malaysian Prime Minister. then puts up a foreign post saying that he invites Dr Mahathir to take a leading role in promoting democracy, human rights, freedom of speech in South East Asia.
I think it is quite clear what that means.
Kirsten Han then puts up a post saying that is for South East Asia, not Singapore. Where is Singapore if not in South East Asia. Do we need a geography lesson?
The Minister – being a top lawyer – chooses his words very wisely without making any direct allegations but directs anyone who read the report of his statement or views his video to have an impression that Dr Thum had invited the Malaysian Prime Minister to intervene in Singapore politics.
Two things with no direct connection, one is a gift while another is the content of the meeting but linked in a sentence to create one.
The minister does not have proof of the invitation, for if he has, he would have sent the Internal Security Department after the professor. Instead, the reporters from the Mainstream Media are called down to his event to capture his quote which is nothing but a soundbite that will be amplified through the government's propaganda channels with no questions asked of his indirect insinuations.
Just think about it, how many Ministers are walking the ground on Sunday and attending events, and the reporters happen to just turn up at the Minister's event to ask him about Seah's Facebook post?
Also based on Mr Shanmugam's interpretation of Han's explanation, Singapore ought to voice complaints to pageant contestants about foreign intervention when they advocate for world peace in their respective countries because Singapore is part of the world after all.