Kuala Lumpur — Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman told his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop on Friday that spying activities should not be conducted among friendly nations as it could damage relations.
In a statement, he said he conveyed this message to Bishop in Perth on the sidelines of the 13th Ministers of Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) meeting.
“The Foreign Minister took the opportunity to raise matters on recent media reports of alleged Australian spying activities in Malaysia. He expressed deep concern of such reports which have caused considerable anger amongst the Malaysian public,” said the statement.
“He further stated that such activities are not done amongst close friends as it could severely damage existing relations,” it said.
Bishop responded to the statement by saying it is not the policy of the Australian government to comment on intelligence matters.
“However, the Minister (Bishop) accepted the concerns raised by Malaysia on the matter and assured that the Australian Government places high importance on the close bilateral relations with Malaysia,” said a statement.
On Friday the Foreign Ministry summoned the United States ambassador and the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia to submit protest notes on their alleged spying activities in Kuala Lumpur, said a report.
Because the U.S. ambassador was not in Kuala Lumpur at the time, and the protest note was given to U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Lee McClenny.
A report leaked to the media recently said the Australian embassies in Asia were used as a hub for a vast U.S. surveillance operation.