Dr Poh Soo Kai disputes claim on Operation Coldstore

Dr Poh Soo Kai

Dr Poh Soo Kai, the former assistant secretary-general of Barisan Sosialis and a former ISA detainee has issued a response to claims made by Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam during the Parliamentary Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods.

Mr Shanmugam had claimed that Operation Coldstore was mounted on grounds of “national security” during his grilling of Oxford Historian Dr Thum Ping Tjin during the Parliamentary Select Committe hearing  on 29 March 2018.

In a video interview posted on Function 8′s Facebook, Dr Poh challenged the allegations that he and his colleagues in the now-defunct Barisan Sosialis posed a threat to national security.

The transcript of the interview (courtesy of TOC) is reproduced below:

The Singapore Law Minister recently crossed swords with historian P J Thum in a six-hour long interrogation of the latter. The Law Minister justified Operation Coldstore on grounds of national security. In other words, that my colleagues and I in the Barisan Sosialis were a threat to national security. I want to challenge this assertion.

WHAT IS NATIONAL SECURITY

I am saddened that educated persons of the younger generation talk about historical events like Operation Coldstore without situating it in its particular historical context.

The historical period in which Operation Coldstore took place, was one where Singapore was still a British colony. The line we drew was the line taken at the 1955 Bandung Conference:

“Are you anti-colonial or are you pro-colonial?”

In this context what do they mean by “national security” when we are not yet a nation but a British colony.

Educated people would have read Jawaharlal Nehru who wrote, during his sedition trial in India, that “every Indian should be proud to be seditious.” This statement must be studied in the context of the Indian struggle for independence against the British Raj. We cannot transpose Nehru’s concept of sedition to the situation in post-colonial India.

Therefore, the issue is:

“At the time of Operation Coldstore, was Singapore independent or was it a British colony?”

If you accept that Singapore was not an independent nation then, in other words, that it was a colony controlled by Great Britain. So what do you mean by “national” in that context?

AN EXAGGERATED COMMUNIST INFLUENCE

According to the report of the Commissioner of Police, there were 40 odd card holding communists during that period. Even if we assume that they were all active in the unions and social bodies, how great was their influence? That would depend on the policies adopted by the party. If the policies promote the people’s welfare and reflect their democratic aspirations, then they would be supported by the people. This is well illustrated in the Hong Lim by-election of April 1961.

A leadership struggle had ensued between Lee Kuan Yew and Ong Eng Guan resulting in the Hong Lim by election. A main point in Ong’s manifesto was the release of all political detainees still detained by Lee Kuan Yew after Lee had won the 1959 elections to be Prime Minister of Singapore. Lee had promised to release all political prisoners during his campaign. Once elected, he reneged on his promises and only released a handful. This was not acceptable to the Singapore electorate. Hence, Ong’s pledge to release these prisoners resonated with an electorate disappointed with Lee Kuan Yew.

However, Lee had secured a written letter of support from the Communist Party. This is a fact. Armed with this assurance, Lee Kuan Yew was of the opinion, that he would win the Hong Lim by-election without the assistance of the trade unionists. Thus, Lim Chin Siong and the left wing unionists were barred from addressing the People’s Action Party (PAP) rallies against Ong Eng Guan. But Lee Kuan Yew lost in the Hong Lim by election. Ong Eng Guan won by a convincing majority of 73.3%.

Where is the great Communist influence? Lee Kuan Yew realised that he had been duped by his own propaganda; that he had grossly over-estimated the strength of the Communists.

And so he realized that he had to quickly change the perception of the electorate and be seen as one ordering the release of all detainees. He had the audacity to propose to the British that he would publicly order the release of the detainees only to have his order countermanded by the British. To this deceitful scheme, the British declined to cooperate.

IS OPERATION COLDSTORE CARRIED OUT ON SECURITY GROUNDS OR FOR POLITICAL REASONS?

The reasons I say it is political and not security are:

(1) if it was security, it should be nipped in the bud. The Operation was scheduled to be held in December 1962. But it was postponed until February 1963 when the Brunei rebellion gave them the pretext to arrest. Lee Kuan Yew said this opportunity afforded by the Brunei rebellion is “heaven sent.” No security operation can wait for “heaven sent” opportunities.

(2) The Barisan Sosialis had given moral support to the Brunei rebellion as we always did for all anti-colonial movements around the world. The media claimed that we were sending military equipment to Brunei which is of course a fake news for we had no military hardware to send to anybody. Even the date for Operation Coldstore was chosen by Lee Kuan Yew to fall on the 15th night of the Chinese New Year (Chap Goh Mei) – the reason being that there would be less chances of protests by people busy with the lunar new year celebration.

(3) After Lee Kuan Yew left the Internal Security Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 2 February and upon arriving at Paya Lebar Airport, he denied responsibility for the Operation Coldstore arrests and said that he preferred an open confrontation with us to win the hearts and minds of the people. The London Economist taunted him by quoting Lady MacBeth, “Screw your courage to the sticking place.” Lee Kuan Yew was trying to evade responsibility for the arrest. In doing so, he let the cat out of the bag. The operation could not have been for security reason.

(4) However, for Lee Kuan Yew, Operation Coldstore must not be seen for what it is – an operation to lock up his political opponents in Singapore. Hence he tried to mask Operation Coldstore as a Pan Malayan operation against the left in Peninsula Malaya as well, not just in Singapore. Towards this masquerade, he insisted:

(1) that Internal Security Council meetings (made up of the British, Peninsula Malaya and Singapore) should be held in Kuala Lumpur and he obtained consent on that;

(2) he persuaded Dr Ismail, the Malayan representative to the Internal Security Council, to include Ahmad Boestamam, Lim Kean Siew and other Malayan left- wing persons in the list of persons to be arrested in Operation Coldstore.

But the Tunku would have none of this. He would not arrest Ahmad Boestamam and Lim Kean Siew, who were both Members of Parliament just to please Lee Kuan Yew when no justification for such presented itself. Due to this disagreement between the Tunku and Lee Kuan Yew, Operation Coldstore which was scheduled for December 1962 had to be aborted. So much for the pretext of security grounds.

We must learn from history and not myths, history that is grounded in the events and realities of the time. And that is fundamental according to President Sukarno of Indonesia. Otherwise as pointed out by Sukarno:

“If you do not know your history you would be like monyets (monkeys) amok and running in the dark”.

 

 

 

 

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24 Responses to “Dr Poh Soo Kai disputes claim on Operation Coldstore”

  • LIONS:

    AH YES,BS N I REMEMBER DR LEE SIEW CHOH AT RALLIES.

    these old sons of SG are part OF sg hisotry never to be forgotten.

    thanks to them for being so faithful to the cause even at this age.
    thanks alot uncle.

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  • Titiana Ann Xavier:

    The biggest monyet took 6 hours to assert that Operation Coldstore was a “national security” exercise. Dr Poh has pooh-pooped Shanmugam’s use of “national” when Singapore was still a British colony. LKY was engaged in an anti-democratic process when he abused the ISA and his infamous “the means justifies the ends” smacked of Machiavellian perfidy. The PAP government’s tactics of shouting down dissenters and silencing others through fear showcased its inhumanity towards fellow men.

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  • Out in the open:

    Im so elated that alot of PAPs skeletons are being thrown out of their closets ever so often these days.
    One day even PAP will be history..
    Our country needs “new blood” badly!

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  • Hawking Eye:

    Dr Poh Soo Kai is reported to have said: “However, Lee had secured a written letter of support from the Communist Party. This is a fact. Armed with this assurance, Lee Kuan Yew was of the opinion, that he would win the Hong Lim by-election without the assistance of the trade unionists. Thus, Lim Chin Siong and the left wing unionists were barred from addressing the People’s Action Party (PAP) rallies against Ong Eng Guan. But Lee Kuan Yew lost in the Hong Lim by election. Ong Eng Guan won by a convincing majority of 73.3%.”

    Many politicians of note need re-education and Dr Poh Soo Kai is one of them. Lim Chin Siong and gang have always been labelled as pro-communists and leftists. If LKY had secured the written support of the Communist Party (CP) for the PAP in the Hong Lim by-election, why would the CP or PAP bar Lim Chin Siong from campaigning for the Party. It makes no sense. In fact when the PAP lost to Ong Eng Guan the happiest people in town were Lim Chin Siong and his comrades.

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  • Splint:

    Leave no splinter under skin.
    ” you r not my brother.”

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  • MarBowling:

    To date has China so far declared and proclaimed that they are no longer a Communist Country?

    In fact, had China after WW2 went the General Chang Kai Shit way rather than Chairman Mao way, China would still be to date a 3rd World Country, bullied left and right by others like the blady Ang moh. Communism like democracy is just another FORM of governance. Operation Coldstore and Operation Spectrum was cunningly used by Lee Kayu to achieve his blady AIM of getting rid of all his political opponents AT ALL COST! Period.

    In fact, his blady FORM of governance is WORSE than those of the communist! Period. Yes, initially his party esp Dr Goh Kim Swee, Dr Toh Chin Chye and the rest of his comrades, except Lee Kayu, cared and concerned about the survival of the citizen esp the common folks. Like they say, the rest is History! SinKapore was NOT A FISHING VILLAGE, when the PAPigs under Lee Kayu came into power! with the able and capable effort of individuals like Dr Goh, Dr Toh, etc, Singapore was able to become one of the Asia Tigers. To perpetuate and consolidate his Power of the Imperial Throne, Lee Kayu slowing but gradually get rid of ALL of his one time comrades like Dr Goh, Dr Toh and the rest and replaced them with his chosen eunuchs and running dogs! Look at Communist China now! It has become the 2nd most powerful country on planet earth. It has sidelined SinKapore in the recent OBOR incident which let Pee-M Mai Hum trying all means and tricks to suck up to President XJP for a small piece of the OBOR cake. Really pathetic. Think it’s the Hawking Eye of the Barn Owl and also Heaven to ensure that Karma and Retribution will eventually call and catch with the FAMILEE and Gang for what they(past and present) have done to hundreds and thousands of True Blue Singaporean and their families by persecuting and imprisoning them without trial. It’s pay back time for those ruthless and sneaky Buggers, folks!

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  • Great Asia:

    If you are a god-like figure like the feudal lord Lee Kuan Yew, don’t you think you will many pages of your books to tell Singaporeans and your worshipers about your 3 years and 8 months experience during the Japanese occupation period? The feudal lord should be proud to tell his side of the story, on how he fought the Japanese imperial soldiers right?

    Why he kept so silent?

    They never told how individuals, families and groups were being murdered by accusing them of being communists or supporters of communists.

    Communism during that era was about depressed farmers and poor people fighting for freedom, fighting to gain control of their own destiny.

    Even today we are still fighting for social justice, on one side we have a useless man being the PM of Singapore and being paid $$$millions$$$ because his papa is Lee Kuan Yew; and on the other side we have senior citizens doing cleaning jobs in hawker centres for a mere few hundred dollars a month. Will you fight for these poor old Singaporeans? If you say yes, then you’re supporting socialism, you are supporting communism.

    The feudal lord and his team of evil souls had not told you the truths, it’s about their $$$ millions $$$ in their bank accounts – it’s about their vested interests.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • Great Asia:

    “Are you anti-colonial or are you pro-colonial?”

    When the British were here, the feudal lord served the British.

    When the Japanese imperial soldiers were here, the feudal lord served the Japanese.

    When the Japanese left and the British came back, the feudal lord served the British once again.

    When the British left again, the feudal lord served himself.

    “I am saddened that educated persons….” Do you know what it means when a Chinese is being referred to as an Educated Person?

    This evil soul is a Banana, he his not a Chinese.

    Next year is 2019, his d**honourable son will force Singaporeans to worship their ancestor, Sir Stamford Raffles. I’m a true Chinese, I don’t worship colonial dictator. You are a Malay, your ancestors have been living in this area long before the founding of United Kingdom. As an Indian, do you feel proud for India to be called the “jewel in the crown”?

    Ha ha ha!

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    Great Asia:
    If you are a god-like figure like the feudal lord Lee Kuan Yew, don’t you think you will many pages of your books to tell Singaporeans and your worshipers about your 3 years and 8 months experience during the Japanese occupation period? The feudal lord should be proud to tell his side of the story, on how he fought the Japanese imperial soldiers right?

    Why he kept so silent?

    They never told how individuals, families and groups were being murdered by accusing them of being communists or supporters of communists.

    Communism during that era was about depressed farmers and poor people fighting for freedom, fighting to gain control of their own destiny.

    Even today we are still fighting for social justice, on one side we have a useless man being the PM of Singapore and being paid $$$millions$$$ because his papa is Lee Kuan Yew; and on the other side we have senior citizens doing cleaning jobs in hawker centres for a mere few hundred dollars a month. Will you fight for these poor old Singaporeans? If you say yes, then you’re supporting socialism, you are supporting communism.

    The feudal lord and his team of evil souls had not told you the truths, it’s about their $$$ millions $$$ in their bank accounts – it’s about their vested interests.

    Ha ha ha!

    The FEUDAL LORD??? you are insulting the TRUE FL…he is a COWARD for Not fighting the Japs and a Traitor after collecting his clothes when STOPPED by a Kempetie to Negotiate in Japanese that he will Work for them @ Cathay Building…instead of the ridiculous story told by his brother in a TWO PAGE spread in Shitty Times that he was SAVED by a Trishaw Rider

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  • Bapak:

    It is good for this to be out in the open. Let the young decide who did injustice to the people. Ops Coldstore had been buried in the closet for too long, time to let the www know the truth.

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  • 70% Daft Sinkies:

    Well said, Dr Poh!

    WHAT IS NATION OR NATIONAL WHEN YOU WERE STILL A BRITISH COLONY.

    AND SOMEBODY SHOULD ALSO EXPOSE LKY FOR BEING A PRO COLONIST BEFORE HE SAW THE FUTILITY OF BRITISH RULE AND CHANGED HIS HEART.

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  • rukidding:

    Looks like our Law Minister made a “fool” of himself ?

    Going by the clause ” Bristish colony” and “independence”….then I think the term “National threat” is WRONG !

    Meaning,…somebody “twisted” and “Conned” the people into “”believing”.

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  • jaywalker:

    As a nation we owe a big debt to Dr Poh and his colleagues as day by day it becomes clearer that they were unjustly and unjustifiably incarcerated, while the rest of us cowered in our homes in the face of the big bully. When will we stand up and scrub away the lies that put these heroes behind bars for decades, and call the devil for what it is. History needs rewriting and Dr Thum is my choice for doing so.

    Today we see the heirs of the big bully trying to perpetuate the lies that were minted for their evil intent. These people have no shame and no remorse for the wrong done to our patriots.

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  • The Rot Started From The Top:

    Fortunately, there are still some survivors of the Operation Coldstore victims coming out to rebut the false allegations and the cruelty of the ruling party, PAP. Without these people around, the whole gang of ‘Devils In Disguise’ can suka suka put up any kind of half truths stories and fake tales. It’s time for a change of honest and a fair government.

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  • knn:

    Please lah – get this great man’s name correct.

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  • Great Asia:

    patriot of Temesak: a Traitor after collecting his clothes when STOPPED

    Do you believe his story?

    Every young and strong Chinese who was not taken away by the Japanese during that period would have to make up a story to explain why the Japanese soldiers had spared him. You can understand what I meant.

    Maybe PAP should investigate this greatest FAKE news of our history.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • You make sense:

    yes! yes! yes! we must fight for poor Singaporean !!!

    Look at countries like Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada, France, UK, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands

    https://www.therichest.com/business/the-top-10-countries-with-the-highest-minimum-wages/

    So better we become like these countries to help senior citizens doing cleaning jobs in hawker centres for a mere few hundred dollars a month or we will be branded “supporting communism”!!!

    Better don’t play play, wait kenna go limkopi, better start have minimum wage now !!!

    Great Asia:

    Will you fight for these poor old Singaporeans? If you say yes, then you’re supporting socialism, you are supporting communism.

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  • You make sense:

    Yes! yes! yes!, better not let him again follow bad example – anyhow amend Constitution that would let him remain in power, perhaps indefinitely or to enshrined his name and ideology into the constitution.

    People already not happy with the British, the Japanese, better not let him repeat mistake again and go worship the Chinese or follow what they did in China!!!

    British or Japanese, two is enough !!

    Great Asia:
    “Are you anti-colonial or are you pro-colonial?”

    When the British were here, the feudal lord served the British.

    When the Japanese imperial soldiers were here, the feudal lord served the Japanese.

    When the Japanese left and the British came back, the feudal lord served the British once again.

    When the British left again, the feudal lord served himself.

    “I am saddened that educated persons….” Do you know what it means when a Chinese is being referred to as an Educated Person?

    This evil soul is a Banana, he his not a Chinese.

    Next year is 2019, his d**honourable son will force Singaporeans to worship their ancestor, Sir Stamford Raffles. I’m a true Chinese, I don’t worship colonial dictator. You are a Malay, your ancestors have been living in this area long before the founding of United Kingdom. As an Indian, do you feel proud for India to be called the “jewel in the crown”?

    Ha ha ha!

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  • nihon:

    who wins, who writes history.

    the communists ran and hid when the japs came. today, they told fairy tales on their propaganda machines that they fought and won the jap in ww2. and their nemisis, the kmt ran from the japs. the cpc – communist party of china even held a parade to celebrate their ‘victory’ with russia.

    the facts : america led the allies in fighting the japs in asia and hitler n mussolini in europe, with 2 atomic bombs, the japs surrendered.

    so who were the heroes?

    the americans with their allies or the communist party of china?

    you decide.

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    Great Asia: Do you believe his story?

    Every young and strong Chinese who was not taken away by the Japanese during that period would have to make up a story to explain why the Japanese soldiers had spared him. You can understand what I meant.

    Maybe PAP should investigate this greatest FAKE news of our history.

    Ha ha ha!

    Brother, read my full comment and KNOW that he thought he could Lie(lee) to the Idiots who read his books and worship him…I read most of his Books and books that are written by others about him to seek the “TRUTH”…but his story short as it may be about the Japanese Occupation REVEALED the Hard Truth about a Coward-Traitor & a F…..g Liar

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    Great Asia: Do you believe his story?

    Every young and strong Chinese who was not taken away by the Japanese during that period would have to make up a story to explain why the Japanese soldiers had spared him. You can understand what I meant.

    Maybe PAP should investigate this greatest FAKE news of our history.

    Ha ha ha!

    One more thing brother…the bast**d was STOPPED b’cos he was TALL(strapping-well-built) for an Asian as told to Charlies Rose in an interview and very CONSPICUOUS as compared to other young men, egotistical like Comey the Rogue and Lying FBI Boss bragging about his height as compared to Trump…what he did NOT say is his proficiency in Japanese pleading like the coward he is to allow him to LIVE with his EVIL and work for them as a Traitor that he is!!!

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    AND how do you ask “FAKES” to investigate “FAKES”…it is like the internet phrase “Ownself check Ownself”

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  • me me me:

    WRONGLY ACCUSED BUT NO WORD OF APOLOGY.

    INTELLIGENCE WITHOUT WISDOM IS FOOLISHNESS.

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  • Dalam a coward:

    Dalam, the infamous papist upon the depravation of the SLAP in return for plp extremus rewards of Banko job with the infamous stupidity of venting the deprivation at $2m scanalisation of two senior Chinese Banko Chieftains, was reported to have expressed his doubts on the authenticity of the claim of reasons for ISA detention. It is indeed a surprise that not a whimper came from him in the current discourse on falsehood. To speak in a nepotic polanpa environment needs the tenacity of intergrity and honesty to oneself and the saviour upon which these Biws swore upon. There was another who has opined similarly and shrunh the same way. Are these so called talented, dedicated men really built Singapore. AAre Singaporeans kidding themselves. Really bananas and rotten banana with rotness in between like the Anto Chase Champion against banana lynchers aka the white KKK still lurking strong in Trumpism and Trudeau headache.

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