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Philip Dorling & Nick McKenzie
Sydeney Morning Herald
Malaysia’s “dangerous” decline is fuelled by incompetent politicians, Thailand is dogged by corruption and a “very erratic” crown prince, Japan is a “big fat loser” and India is ”stupid”.
So say some of Singapore’s highest ranking officials, according to leaked US State Department cables which are likely to spark intense political controversy in the region.
The cables, leaked exclusively to The Sun-Herald by WikiLeaks, detail separate meetings between senior US officials and Singapore’s Foreign Affairs chiefs Peter Ho, Bilahari Kausikan and Tommy Koh.
The trio, who at the time of the 2008 and 2009 cables occupied some of the most senior positions in the foreign ministry, all give US officials damning assessments of Malaysia. According to one cable detailing a meeting in September 2008, Mr Kausikan told US Deputy Secretary of Defence for East Asia David Sedney there was a “distinct possibility of racial conflict” which could see ethnic Chinese “flee” Malaysia and “overwhelm” Singapore.
Mr Ho’s assessment of Malaysia in March that year, given to another US official, is also unflattering and includes claims that former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad had been “throwing stones” at his replacement, Abdullah Badawi.
In his September meeting with Mr Sedney, Mr Kausikan savaged Thailand’s political elite, labelling Thaksin Shinawatra as “corrupt” along with “everyone else, including the opposition”. Mr Kausikan was also critical of Mr Thaksin’s relationship with the Thai crown prince, saying he “made a mistake in pursuing a relationship with the crown prince by paying off the crown prince’s gambling debts”.