Philip Dorling and Nick McKenzie
December 12, 2010
The trio, who at the time of the 2008 and 2009 cables occupied some of the most senior positions in Singapore's Foreign Affairs 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 that ''the situation in neighbouring Malaysia is confused and dangerous'', fuelled by a ''distinct possibility of racial conflict'' that could see ethnic Chinese ''flee'' Malaysia and ''overwhelm'' Singapore.
''A lack of competent leadership is a real problem for Malaysia,'' Mr Kausikan said, citing the need for Najib Razak - now Malaysia's Prime Minister - to ''prevail politically in order to avoid prosecution'' in connection with a 2006 murder investigation linked to one of Mr Razak's aides.
''Najib Razak has his neck on the line in connection with a high-profile murder case,'' Mr Kausikan said.
Mr Ho's March 2008 assessment of Malaysia, given to another US official, is also unflattering, and includes claims that former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has been ''throwing stones'' at his replacement, Abdullah Badawi.
''The political knives will be out for Abdullah's son-in-law, United Malays National Organisation politician Khairy Jamaluddin, whom nobody likes because he got where he is through family ties,'' the cable records Mr Ho saying. ''As for … Najib Razak, he is an opportunist. Although he has not been critical of Singapore, he will not hesitate to go in that direction if it is expedient for him to do so. Najib's political fortunes continue to be haunted by the … murder scandal.''
In his September 2008 meeting with Mr Sedney, Mr Kausikan savages Thailand's political elite, labelling Thaksin Shinawatra as ''corrupt'' along with ''everyone else, including the opposition''.
Mr Kausikan is also critical of Thaksin's relationship with the Thai crown prince, stating that Thaksin ''made a mistake in pursuing a relationship with the crown prince by paying off the crown prince's gambling debts''.
''Kausikan said the crown prince was 'very erratic, and easily subject to influence','' the cable states, while also saying that Mr Kausikan warned of continued instability in Thailand.
In a September 2009 meeting with US officials, senior Singaporean foreign affairs official Tommy Koh savages Japan and India in relation to the impact on both countries of China's increasing regional might.
''Koh described Japan as 'the big fat loser' in the context of improving ties between China and ASEAN. He attributed the relative decline of Japan's stature in the region to Japan's 'stupidity, bad leadership, and lack of vision','' the cable says.
''He was equally merciless towards India, describing his 'stupid Indian friends' as 'half in, half out' of ASEAN.''
Other notable comments about regional affairs made by Mr Kausikan in September 2008 include his reported claims that:
■ Burma's neighbours, including China and India, are ''more concerned with stability than justice'' and they feared the Burmese junta's demise could produce ''an Asian reprise of the breakup of Yugoslavia''.
■ He would be ''more comfortable with a nuclear-capable North Korea, than a nuclear-capable Iran''.
■ Russia's economy is ''Third World'', its health system a shambles and its demographic challenges almost insurmountable.
Mr Koh is recorded praising China's ''investment and intelligent diplomacy in the region''.
''I don't fear China. I don't fear being assimilated by China,'' the cable states that Mr Koh said, while he pointed to China's decision to invest in Africa ''without lecturing them about human rights and democracy as the West does''.