The Sobering View of an Ex-ISD Officer

Those who are sobering readers of the political book Men In White cannot help but form an impression that the tome is a glorification of the narcissistic Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. It is small wonder that some people and portals describe it as a propaganda book. It depicts Lee Kuan Yew to be a one-man crusader in his fight against the might of his so-called pro-communist foes. The authors fail to highlight Lee Kuan Yew’s more ignominous persona.

On the other hand the book Fajar Generation by an aggrieved group of former detainees connected with the old Malaya University Socialist Club is an antithesis and contains an incisive indictment of what they imply as the iniquities of a treacherous and inhuman Lee Kuan Yew. The authors, especially Dr. Poh Soo Kai and Tan Jing Quee. had apparently visited the British Archives in the United Kingdom and quoted extensively relevant extracts from the Archives to expose the so-called treachery and perfidy of Lee Kuan Yew in complicity with the British to push through the Malaysia plan. The book Fajar Generation is published in West Malaysia and surprisingly is available in some book stores in Singapore.

To debunk the subtle assertion in Men in White that Lee Kuan Yew had been able through his own industry to build up a mass base for his political ambition by simply agreeing to serve as legal adviser to pro-communist trade unions and other communist front organisations (CUF), it is obvious the authors are over-simplifying the issue. It was a well-known fact that Lim Chin Siong, the former general secretary of the powerful Singapore Factory & Shop Workers Union was the undisputed leader of the communist united front and controlled the mass base. Lee Kuan Yew could not have been unaware of this fact and knew that he had to depend on Lim Chin Siong and his mass base to advance his political ambition.

To give an example of the massive influence of Lim Chin Siong over his CUF members, the CUF used to hold anti-colonial mass meetings at the old Happy World Stadium which were invariably packed to capacity. It was an unforgettable experience to behold that Lim Chin Siong was given a standing ovation when he entered the stadium. Lee Kuan Yew would usually be tagging along holding his briefcase and this phenomenon could not have escaped the sharp attention of Lee Kuan Yew. He had no doubt kept this at the back of his mind for reference in his dealing with Lim Chin Siong in future. Lee was of the conviction that as long as Lim was a free man, Lim would be a great obstacle to his ambitious plan of capturing political power. So along came an unsuspecting benefector in the person of Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock who did Lee a great favour by detaining Lim Chin Siong and his fellow activists thus allowing the ambitious Lee Kuan Yew to inherit Lim Chin Siong’s mass base to advance his political ambition. The word gratitude is not to be found in Lee’s lexicon. In fact, it would have been a great joke if Lim’s detention had caused him any grief.

Yoong Siew Wah

About Yoong Siew Wah:

Mr Yoong is the former Director of Internal Security Department (ISD) from 1971-1974.

The ISD is a domestic intelligence agency of Singapore. It has the utmost right to detain without trial individuals suspected to be a threat to national security. Its stated mission is to confront and address security threats, including international terrorism, foreign subversion and espionage. The ISD also monitors and addresses potential threats from communism, prevention of racial tension which might affect the public peace, domestic counterterrorism, international counterterrorism, fraud against the state, surveillance, apprehension of suspected militants or terrorists and protection of Singapore’s national borders.

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