(As posted on PM Lee’s Facebook on Feb. 6, 2017)
Alternative fact or fair characterisation?
Greetings to you PM Lee and readers. Respectfully, may I offer a minor point of difference here pertaining to your remarks: ‘Later, Mr Fong followed Mr Lim Chin Siong to break away from the PAP and form the Barisan Sosialis. The fight was over the fundamental issue of Singapore’s future: whether Singapore should be a non-Communist, democratic state, or a Communist one.’
In pre-Internet days, one needs to be a history buff (or would need access to a voluminous library) to revisit events of yore — 50 or more years back no less — an avocation not quite for the unmotivated. But with a few clicks today, research is made easy. In essence, the weight of evidence does not seem to jibe with the manner you cast the political struggles of the ‘60s in such Manichaean light as simply between ‘non-Communist and Communist’.
The following is excerpted from eresouces.nlb.gov.sg : ‘The main objectives of the Barisan included ending colonialism, establishing a united independent state comprising the Federation of Malaya and Singapore, creating a democratic government and introducing a sound economic system.’
Communist political parties were outlawed in Malaya and Singapore after WWll. Dr. Lee Siew Choh, chair of his party Barisan Sosialis (BS) that emerged as the main political rival to PAP in the 60s, was never arrested (for security reasons) nor was his party proscribed.
As a teenager in the 70s I remembered poring over a book compiled by C.V. Devan Nair (who became Singapore’s 3rd president) entitled ‘Socialism that works … the Singapore way’. Would Singapore be thriving as vibrantly and successfully today, under say a Scandinavian-like socialist polity with BS at the helm? … that will always remain an open sixty-four-thousand-dollar question.