Historian Thum Ping Tjin 'does not wish Singapore well': MP Seah Kian Peng

Historian Thum Ping Tjin 'does not wish Singapore well': MP Seah Kian Peng

SINGAPORE: Member of Parliament (MP) Seah Kian Peng on Saturday (Sep 1) said it was "quite clear" that Thum Ping Tjin "does not wish Singapore well". 

In his Facebook post, Mr Seah added that he was "amazed that Dr Thum and his supporters should proclaim that Singapore is part of Malaysia (or Malaya)".

Mr Seah was referring to a Facebook post Dr Thum made on Friday, which appeared to suggest that Singaporeans should celebrate Malaysia's independence day.

"Selamat Hari Merdeka to the people of the former Federation of Malaya!(and happy unofficial independence day to the people of Singapore!)," Dr Thum wrote in the post.

That post came a day after Dr Thum, along with Tan Wah Piow, author Sonny Liew, as well as activists Kirsten Han and Jolovan Wham, met with Malaysia Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

During the meeting, Dr Thum urged Dr Mahathir to "take the lead in lobbying for the promotion of democracy and freedom of expression and inquiry in Southeast Asia".

He subsequently made the following remarks: “I felt Malaysia is in a unique opportunity to really be a beacon of democracy in the region."

Tan added: "Personally, I am very grateful for this open, democratic space that Tun Mahathir’s government has opened and it’s a beacon for many who are struggling for democracy. Not just in Singapore but in other parts of Southeast Asia.”

“I think (Singapore) will be very concerned, not because I met with Dr Mahathir, but the fact that the prime minister is prepared to share his views about democracy and to enhance the development of democracy in the region.

"And that Malaysia is now shining this beacon which is probably stealing the limelight from Singapore. I think that’s what worries them. Singapore is becoming (an) outdated, archaic society with its dominant party controls.”

In his Facebook post, Mr Seah questioned Dr Thum's invitation to the Malaysian prime minister to "bring democracy to Singapore".

"I wonder what deep historical insight prompted him to make this plea, to Dr M, whose views on the Water Agreement with Singapore, and Singapore knowing its place in relation to Malaysia are well known," he wrote.

"Is it also a coincidence that they had accompanied Tan Wah Piow on this visit to Dr M? Tan was convicted for rioting in 1975 and slipped out of Singapore upon his release from prison to avoid National Service. Several of Tan’s comrades from that time subsequently joined the CPM’s radio station, Voice of the Malayan Revolution, in Changsha, China.

"Perhaps that is why he thinks it is permissible to ask its current prime minister to interfere in our affairs."

Mr Seah also added it was interesting that Han, Wham and Liew should "associate themselves with Thum".

"Perhaps I should remind PJ Thum that our Constitution requires any change to the sovereignty of Singapore to be approved by two-thirds of all voters in a referendum," Mr Seah wrote in his Facebook post.

"This requirement was put in by our founding leaders. As a result of our searing experience in the 23 months when we were part of Malaysia, they knew how important it was to safeguard our independence and sovereignty."

Mr Seah also pointed out that Singapore's first Minister for Law, Mr EW Barker, who was also the author of the Separation Agreement, said that “in the methodology of the destruction of a nation its foes, war by force of arms is not necessarily the only means employed. The independence of a nation may, by more subtle means, be subverted".

"He also said 'the seductive blandishments of foreign agents must not be allowed to succeed'. Quite right and I am sure Singaporeans will agree with that," added Mr Seah.


Mr Seah also noted that former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee and former Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Teo Soh Lung made a comment that "Singapore is part of Malaya" on a post by The Online Citizen. 

"Really? This is what PJ Thum and Teo Soh Lung and the SDP believe in their heart of hearts?" Mr Seah said. 

"Note she says 'Malaya', not 'Malaysia'. This was what the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) maintained – that Malaysia was an imperialist plot, and Singapore’s separation and independence was a sham."

In a Facebook post late on Saturday, the SDP took issue with Mr Seah mentioning the party in his post, given that both Dr Thum and Ms Teo were not members of the SDP. 

"Dr Thum and Ms Teo are not members of the SDP (and) thus do not speak for the party or represent us in any way.

"We did not have anything to do with the meeting nor did we say anything about the matter. We only learnt about Dr Thum's meeting with Dr Mahathir through reports in the media," the party wrote. 

"It is, therefore, bewildering that Mr Seah would drag the SDP into the issue. One can only conclude that the PAP (People's Action Party) MP is being cheeky." 

The SDP added that Mr Seah's "wild insinuations" was an attempt to "divert the people's attention from our message".

"The SDP will stay focused on our work which is to continue speaking up for our fellow Singaporeans, draw up alternative solutions and work for a better Singapore," it said. 

Source: CNA/ng