A tribute to the late Lim Hock Siew - From free Malaysia today|
June 6, 2012
FMT LETTER: From R Kamalanathan, via e-mail
Malaysia and Singapore have been indifferently synonymous with paraphrasing the term ‘operation’ which has been identically associated with the ISA. Operation Lalang showed how hundreds of people who dissented with the social and economic policies of Mahathir Mohammad ended up in the Kamunting Detention Centre in 1987.
This was also the period which Malaysians witnessed the greatest scandal in their history. The government lost RM2.5 billion (at that time almost 3% of the GDP of the country) in the Bumiputera Malaysian Finance fiasco . The growing dissent from this scandal eventually led to the arrests and detention of many social and political activists under the ISA.
Across the causeway, the ‘operation’ had had started much earlier. On Feb 2, 1963, at least 111 left-wing activists were arrested and detained, including key members of the opposition political party, Barisan Sosialis. During this time, Singapore was a self-governing state under British rule and was preparing for a merger with the Federation of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form the Federation of Malaysia in September 1963.
The pro-communists forces within the People’s Action Party (PAP) led by Lim Chin Siong did not align themselves with the merger of Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia. They strongly opposed it. However the Lee Kuan Yew faction supported it.
Tunku Abdul Rahman, the then Prime Minister of Malaya had advised Lew Kuan Yew, then the Chief Minister of Singapore, that a merger would only be possible with Lim Chin Siong out of the way.
This advice was corroborated by the Internal Security Council comprising representatives of the British Colonial government, Federal Government of Malaya and from within the Singapore Government.
Tunku supported a very pro-British foreign policy and hence was weary that the resurgence of communism may take a new turn through these neo-communists. Malaya had to pay heavily from 1948 to 1960 for an Emergency Rule against the Malayan Communist Party (MCP).
As a result of these opposing views on the merger with the Federation of Malaysia, Lim Chin Siong’s faction broke away from the PAP to form the Barisan Sosialis. The Singapore Trade Union Congress too, split into two factions – Singapore Association of Trade Unions (SATU) supporting the Barisan Sosialis, and the pro-PAP faction under leadership of Devan Nair, formed the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).
Hence ‘Operation Cold Store’ led to the arrests of the pro-communists and subsequently the Federation of Malaysia was formed. One news from the Singapore Democratic party says, “Born in 1931, incarcerated in 1963 and released in 1981.”
Another says, “You often hear about people like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi outside of Singapore. Dr Lim and Mr Chia Thye Poh – the longest-serving political prisoner in the world – these are Singaporean men. Something to be proud of.”
Yes, Malaysians do not know or cannot remember many of those who opposed the formation of Malaysia: Dominic Puthucheary, James Puthucheary, S Woodhull, Said Zahari, Abdul Wahab Shah, Abdul Samad Ismail and probably Syed Husin Ali.
Dr Lim Hock Siew who was one of the founding members of the PAP and the second longest-held political prisoner after Chia Thye Poh. He passed away at the age of 81 on Monday, June 4, 2012 after a period of illness at his home in Singapore.
The son of fishmonger, who had a great political vision, was arrested when he was only 32 years. His son was then five months old. After 19 years and eight months in detention, he was finally released on Sept 6, 1982. His son by then had entered college.
The life of Lim Hock Siew may not be as colourful as that of our Malayan Labour Party members such as Lim Kean Siew. But much of his life dynamic part of life had had ended in the prison like that of K Nadarajah, the general secretary of the United Malayan Rubbers Workers Union.
On Feb 28, 1967, Nadarajah was arrested under the Internal Security Act initiating a strike of 600 workers before the Guthrie Agency in Kuala Lumpur. All the 600 workers walked all the way from Bukit Asahan Estate in Malacca. Nadarajah was 27 years when he was detained.
He left the Kamunting Detention Centre when he was 44 years. Just imagine he was detained because Guthrie Agency refused to recognise the Union on the pretext of redundancy as they have already recognised the National Union of Plantation Workers.
I asked Nadarajah how was it with him ‘the days of our youth are the days of our glory(Byron)’ had completely been spent in detention. He said, ‘ My loss is your gain.”
True, Lim Hock Siew may have lost his golden years in detention yet the youths of today in Singapore may find that human dignity is all about struggles and the struggle for social justice is a pre-eminent factor in the life of every one, who will yearn to remember him because they too, believe a hero is born with dignity and dies too in dignity. Farewell Hock Siew.
[ 本帖最后由 难得清静 于 2012-6-11 06:57 编辑 ]