Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Man Of Principle

On March 5, 1977, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)'s Ludovic Kennedy exposed Lee Kuan Yew's duplicity about detention without trial, alleging that Lee changed his position on such detentions after taking office.

Kennedy: Prime Minister, what do you say to the fact that some people have been detained in prison here for something like 13 years without trial. Is that true?

Lee: It is outside the laws of the courts. It's legislation which the British passed when they were faced with communist insurgency. - a revolt.
There are three of them - you are right - 13 years since 1963, really coming to 14. Two of them are doctors. I defended them for sedition when we were fighting the British together.
And the two doctors know that all they have to do is to say, "I renounce the use of arm force to overthrow the government and therefore do not support the Malayan Communist Party in their attempt to do so," and they will be released. And they refused to do that.

Kennedy: But are you saying, Prime Minister, in a strong and prosperous society that you have here now in Singapore - the last election you won the biggest victory ever, you got all the seats in Parliament - that if you release these three people, you couldn't contain them?

Lee: No, that's not the point. We can release these three people. We released one - Dr Poh Soo Kai - as a trial to see what would happen. We released him in 1972 after we won the last elections with nearly as good a majority - 69 percent of the electorate. And what did he do? He gave medicine and treated a known, wanted, injured terrorist. Now, we have to get him struck off the rolls.

Kennedy: So these other two will have to stay there, forever?

Lee: No.

Kennedy: Until they sign your document?

Lee: No, they don't have to sign a document. All they say is: "I renounce the use of force. I do not support the Malayan Communist Party in their use of force to overthrow the government."

Kennedy: Can I go back to something that you were reported to have said in 1955 when you first entered Parliament? At that time, when your party, the People's Action Party, spoke out against arbitrary arrest, of detention without trial and you yourself are reported to have said, "We either believe in democracy or we do not. If you believe that men should be free men they should have the right of free association, of free publication. No law should permit those democratic processes to be set at naught". Prime Minister, do you believe that, today?

Lee: Yes. I believed that in the circumstances of that time. I mean, I could, you know, quote you Churchill, that "That was what I believed then."

One of the victims of Lee's mercurial principles passed away on Monday 4th June 2012, two days after the 25th anniversary of Operation Spectrum on 2nd June 2012. He was released from detention without trial only on 2nd September 1981, after spending 20 years of his life in jail, making him the second-longest serving ISA detainee in Singapore’s history. When the ISD goons in 1972 - 9 years into his long incarceration - offered to release him in exchange for a public statement of repentance, Dr Lim issued this political statement from prison:
"I am not interested in saving Lee Kuan Yew’s face. This is not a question of pride but of principle. My detention is completely unjustifiable and I will not lift a single finger to help Lee Kuan Yew to justify the unjustifiable. In the light of what you say, is it not very clear that I have lost my freedom all these long and bitter years just to save Lee Kuan Yew’s face? Therefore the PAP regime’s allegation that I am a security risk is a sham cover and a facade to detain me unjustifiably for over nine years."


  1. LKY did not answer Kennedy's question.

  2. The late Dr Lim did not get his wish for a COI and now there is one less witness. Sad.

    1. a COI will probably induce the 'mother of all lies' from those without principle.

  3. It may be not now, but sooner or later justice and truth will prevail.

    There is no way the current team A is able to fool the people. Even the 17 year old pre u students know better.

    There is indeed hope for our little red dot.

  4. our deepest condolences & sympathies to the family of dr lim hock siew
    we are with you always, that you must know
    God Bless

    i am always curious on why the perpetrators were never catalogued & named. all victims must combine their efforts to put them on records. the internet is open for them and what are they waiting for. we want their ranks & names, photos etc etc. when the war is over, we are going after each & everyone of them. these running dogs can run but they can never ever hide.

    1. Yes. Get all the names, pictures and divisions of the 'bully perpetrators' and expose them.

      All the surviving victims should pull their resources together and sue the President or any past Ministers who were involved, and put them on trial. It is the only way to ensure the robustness of our constitution can truly withstand from any abuse of one party. True democracy can only be tested that way.

      Pave the way, and show the young how to fight against a corrupt system. If the Justice is independent from the executive branch, let them prove it. You don't need lawyers to represent you. Just represent yourselves.

  5. Memorable Wisdom from Justice Louis D. Brandeis

    “Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly.
    Men feared witches and burnt women.
    It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.”

    “If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.”

    “In the frank expression of conflicting opinions lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action.”

    “Those who won our independence ... valued liberty as an end and as a means.
    They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.”


  6. "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases.
    Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman."

    Justice Louis D. Brandeis

  7. Older Singaporean6/06/2012 9:54 AM

    Dr Lim, may you have a great re-birth.

  8. Only upon his death, they now admit that he was a good and honourable man. Hey bloody liars, how a good and honourable man be jailed for so long ?

    If Dr. Lim is good and honourable, what does that make the accuser ? A despicable selfish man devoid of the least human decency ?

  9. LKY has no more face in this.
    Neither will PAP and its current cohort of Ministers who stand behind
    their mentor and founding father. They bring national shame to the collective psyche of Singaporeans by idly watching and not giving the survivors a justice. It is a waiting see who will blink and go first.

    If an MP's daughter should get kidnapped and mentally raped, and won't return until 23 years later, can he have the heart and tell himself - let's move on, knowing the perpetuators is still out there, answers unknown and justice is not done? If he has seriously reflect, cross his heart and say yes, then well, he is a bigger man than I thought.

  10. Where's the proof that all those people are dangerous? If there's proof charge them in court and let anyone attend the court hearing. Otherwise where's the fairness?

    Also, "I renounce the use of arm force to overthrow the government and therefore do not support the Malayan Communist Party in their attempt to do so,"

    If these people didn't do anything illegal, what's there to RENOUNCE? Anyone who signs off on such a statement is an admission of guilt when there is none.

  11. Dr Lim has demonstrated to LeeKuanYew's children and grand children what it means to be a man of principle, a man with magnanimity despite being unjustifiably incarcerated for 20 years.

    R.I.P Dr Lim Hock Siew

  12. To quote one blogger, rachel zheng

    " After having the pleasure of speaking to his family, as well as witnessing the amazing strength that Dr Beatrice Chen still carries within her at the wake, I left the wake with one thought: Lee Kuan Yew owes this entire family as well as other surviving victims (and their families) of the ISA an apology which can only be expressed with an independent commission of inquiry, the abolishment of ISA as well as re-writing the history textbooks to include the accounts of the former detainees."

    I think she speaks not only for herself, but many Singaporeans out there.
    This PM has made the discretion to call for an SMRT COI, but has no balls to call a COI for this Operation?! What is he /or this govt / or this Party has anything to hide? What is it they are afraid of? Must anyone who disagree or challenge them be silenced? Looks like Professor Christopher Balding is another victim that will end up like Alan Shakdrake. Looks like this party is still the same. There is no signs of change and opening up. But everything that is regressive about this regime is happening right before our eyes.
    Keep doing what you are doing PAP.

  13. We are all answerable to what we do in this life. People in the future will look back and analyze the world and the actions of those men who sought to change it.

    Good men will be revered and recognized, while villains will be revealed and condemned in due course.

  14. So the ex-scholar & ex-SCDF Chief has been charged on 10 counts of corruption. Of which, he has had 10 sex liaisons with 3 different women for favors. This is the kind of rot you have with someone who knows the systems 40 over years, and was awarded prize by President Nathan with a Fighter's Full Helmet in "protecting and keeping Singapore safe"!! Safe my Ass!

    Paying them high salaries to prevent monetary corruption. But can you prevent them from moral decadence and the abuse of their power? He is only one of the tip of the iceberg. Just imagine how many are unreported? Especially those with absolute power and control and no transparency and accountability and check/balance? Yeah, your guess is as good as mind!

  15. All women and girls who use sex to get money or business from any man MUST be punished. They are no different from the corrupted men that found them(whores) irresistible.

    The One offering bribe is as guilty as the one that accepts the offer, if not more. Temptation with sexual favour to a male is usually even more alluring than money and or material offer.

    And what has happened to the well 'educated' female professionals in Sin? Why are they so desperate as to use their bodies as baits in their works as employees??? Are our girls/women getting loose or sexually promiscuous??? Are they the products of OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM???

  16. //The law of cause and effect forms an integral part of Hindu philosophy. This law is termed as 'karma', which means to 'act'. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines it as the "sum of person's actions in one of his successive states of existence, viewed as deciding his fate for the next". In Sanskrit karma means "volitional action that is undertaken deliberately or knowingly".//

    There are three forms of karma:

    The satvik karma, which is without attachment, selfless and for the benefit of others,

    The rajasik karma, which is selfish where the focus is on gains for oneself,

    The tamasik karma, which is undertaken without heed to consequences, and is supremely selfish and savage.

    Guess which form of karma our great leader falls under. Newton says that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. With few exceptions, every dictator gets his just deserts, his karma. Karma is a bitch. In ordinary parlance, what goes around, comes around.

    RIP Lim Hock Siew.

    Turkish proverb: He who does evil to another, has done it to himself.

  17. Are you saying that LKY uses the people's mandate believing in his democratic principles, then to flip and decide to make adjustments to that principle while in Power, and therefore shift the course from one of open democracy to one of pseudo democracy?

  18. Do bears shit in the forest?

  19. Rest in Peace Dr Lim, when the despot dies or hopefully becomes senile and loses his marbles as someone suggested in would regain my faith in the Lord

  20. 1963 was the year LKY was fighting for merger with Malaysia. LKY had this big dream of making himself the PM of Malaysia. He thought the Malay feudal lords were stupid and could be manipulated.

    Dr Lim and his comrade did not think a merger would work. They have other ideas for a pan Malayan nation centred on Singapore. They were proven right 2 years later. Because they opposed merger on LKY's term they were fixed up and sent to jail. I beleive the British played a part in the ISD fixing Dr Lim and comrade up.

    I visited Dr Lim most evening when I was performing my reservist training on Pulau Tekong and we had a good exchange of views on these issues.

    RIP Dr Lim. You will never be forgotten.

    1. Dear Anon 10:42

      Kuan Yew's problems were not only with the Malays in Msia but also with the chinese in Msia. Tan Siew Sin and the rest of the chinese leaders in MCA and Gerakan and East Malaysia etc...never accepted Kuan Yew as their leader. I suspect it was his arrogance which turned them off.

  21. it is a pity Dr Lim Hock Siew did not document his years in prison and his struggle for a democratic Singapore free of threat, prejudice and cronyism. Why did not someone come forward to help him to document his contribution to Singapore? Why did the people behind the Oral History department leave him out? History of Singapore is not the history of LKY. It is incomplete without hearing the views of Eu Chooi Yip, T.T. Rajah, Dr Lee Siew Choh and those who have left us. There are still many who are alive - Dr Poh Soo Kai, Dr Chia Thye Poh, etc. Lets hear from them before it is too late and we are left with the history of Singapore as narrated by LKY. Those of you who read this post may wish to come forward to write the history of Singapore from those who suffered for their earnest contributions to the development of Singapore