We will share info with S'pore, no need to spy: M'sian minister

SERDANG - Malaysia is prepared to share relevant information with its neighbours, and there was no reason for Singapore to spy on the country, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

"We are ready to share intelligence if the information we obtain concerns these countries. So, they should respect us as a friendly neighbour," he said at the Home Ministry's Innovation Day at Universiti Putra Malaysia here.

Ahmad Zahid was responding to press reports that Singapore was a key partner of the 5-Eyes intelligence group which allegedly tapped telephones and monitored communication networks in Kuala Lumpur.

Based on information leaked by intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden, Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad reported that Singapore was a key "third party" providing the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand access to Malaysia's communication channel.

Australia's Sydney Morning Herald cited documents leaked by Snowden alleging that Singapore military intelligence was helping the US, British and Australian spy agencies tap data passing through a major undersea cable that is partly-owned by Singapore Telecom­munications Ltd (SingTel).

Ahmad Zahid said the information, if true, involved cyber-security, which comes under the purview of the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission, and was outside the purview of the Home Ministry.

He added that on principle, no country should be gathering intelligence on another sovereign nation and a protest note had been sent to the US Embassy.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin confirmed that Wisma Putra had already summoned the Singapore High Commissioner Ong Keng Yong to clarify the matter.

Ong is the third envoy to be summoned by the Malaysian authorities this month following Snowden's exposé of the US-led spying network in Asia.

The Government had earlier this month summoned the American and Australian envoys following earlier reports.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said on Monday that the Government was extremely concerned over the matter.

"It cannot be over-emphasised that spying against a good friend and neighbour is unacceptable and goes against the true spirit of and commitment to good neighbourly relations."

In a statement yesterday, Wisma Putra said the Singapore High Commissioner "will convey the necessary clarifications sought by Malaysia to his government, and would revert with such clarifications to Wisma Putra at the earliest opportunity".

In an unrelated issue, Ahmad Zahid said his ministry would consider Cuepacs' suggestion for immigration officers at airports and border checkpoints to be changed every six months to prevent corruption. Currently, officers are only transferred when there is suspicion of wrongdoing or if the officer is living beyond his means.