SINGAPORE: Historian Thum Ping Tjin made serious allegations against founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in last week's Select Committee hearing, and keeping quiet about them was “not an option”, said Law Minister K Shanmugam on Monday (Apr 2).
In a Facebook post, Mr Shanmugam explained why he had spent "some time" asking the historian questions during the last day of the public hearing by the Select Committee on deliberate online falsehoods.
The session last Thursday saw the minister questioning Dr Thum for almost six hours on the interpretation of historical events such as Operation Coldstore and the Hock Lee Bus riots.
"PJ’s main point, in his written submission to the Select Committee, was that Mr Lee Kuan Yew was the biggest creator of fake news in Singapore, a liar, and Operation Coldstore was based on falsehoods," said Mr Shanmugam in the Facebook post.
"These are serious allegations made in Parliament about our founding PM. Either they have to be accepted, or shown to be untrue. Keeping quiet about them was not an option," he said.
"Thus I told PJ I will ask him questions, on what he had said."
The session also included questions on Dr Thum's perspective on a wide variety of texts, including books from Lenin and Malayan Communist leader Chin Peng as well as Dr Thum’s own thesis and papers.
In the post, Mr Shanmugam said Dr Thum refused to answer many of his questions directly.
He said: "If a person believes in what he says, and has gone through the documents carefully, then what is the difficulty in answering questions?
"People know me – I am direct, I deal with the facts, and say it as I think it is."