Malaysia seeks answers from Singapore over spying report

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia is seeking answers from Singapore over claims that the city-state was spying on its neighbours. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Malaysia took the allegations of spying seriously and were doing all it can to establish whether the reports were true.

"If Singapore denies the claims, then they should provide more information and evidence to back up their statements," he said after closing the National Cyber Crisis Exercise 2013 here.

Muhyiddin was responding to reports citing documents leaked by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, which alleged that Singapore military intelligence helped US, British and Australian spy agencies harvest data passing through a major undersea cable partly owned by Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel).

Meanwhile AFP reported, Malaysia's foreign ministry summoned the ambassador from neighbouring Singapore on Tuesday over a media report that the city-state helped with US-Australian surveillance in the region.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman had already summoned the heads of the US and Australian missions earlier in November in protest at reports that a vast US-led surveillance network included a listening post in America's Malaysian embassy.

Malaysia is "extremely concerned" about the report on Singapore, Anifah said on Tuesday.

"If those allegations are eventually proven, it is certainly a serious matter that the government of Malaysia strongly rejects and abhors," he said.

The foreign ministry said Singapore's high commissioner (ambassador) Ong Keng Yong met Datuk Othman Hashim, the ministry's secretary-general.

The spying allegation has generated anger among Malaysians as Singapore is a close trading partner and fellow member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi appeared to try to cool the row by saying that Kuala Lumpur was prepared to share intelligence with Singapore.

"In principle, no other country should be trying to obtain the secrets of another nation," he was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper.

"But we are ready to share the information if the intelligence concerns these countries, so they should respect us as a neighbouring country," he added.