Dr Lim Hock Siew speaks from Singapore prison
18 March 1972
(Through his legal adviser; released by Dr Beatrice Chia, wife of Dr Lim
I and hundreds of others were arbitrarily arrested on the 2nd of February,
1963. Many are still in prison. Ever since that day, we were, and are,
unjustly and arbitrarily detained in prison without any kind of trial
whatsoever for over 9 years. We have gone through various kinds of
persecution, struggles, hardships and difficulties during this very long
period of over nine years of detention in prison. Recently an unusual
development took place. On the 13th of January, 1972, I was taken to the
Headquarters of the Special Branch at Robinson Road where I was detained for
40 days together with my brother, Lim Hock Koon.
Two high-ranking special branch agents of the P.A.P. regime indicated to me
that if I were to issue a public statement of repentance, I would be
released. They told me that 9 years had passed since the date of my arrest
and that it was time that my case be settled. They admitted that 9 years was
a long time. I told them that it was pointless to remind me of this long
A week after my transfer to the Special Branch Headquarters, the same two
high-ranking employees spelt out the conditions of my release. They demanded
from me two things. They are as follows: -
1. That I make an oral statement of my past political activities, that is to
say, "A security statement." This was meant for the Special Branch records
only, and not meant for publication.
2. That I must issue a public statement consisting of two points : -
a. That I am prepared to give up politics and devote to medical
b. That I must express support for the Parliamentary democratic system.
I shall now recall and recapitulate the conversation that took place between
me and the same two high-ranking Special Branch agents during my detention
at the Special Branch Headquarters.
Special Branch: You need not have to condemn the Barisan Sosialis or any
person. We admit that it is unjust to detain you so long. 9 years is a long
time in a person's life; we are anxious to settle your case.
Dr Lim Hock Siew: My case will be settled immediately if I am released
unconditionally. I was not asked at the time of my arrest whether I ought to
be arrested. Release me unconditionally and my case is settled.
Special Branch: The key is in your hands. It is for you to open the door.
Dr Lim Hock Siew: To say that the key is in my hands is the inverted logic
of gangsters in which white is black and black is white. The victim is
painted as the culprit and the culprit is made to look innocent. Four Gurkha
soldiers were brought to my house to arrest me. I did not ask or seek arrest
or the prolonged detention for over 9 years in prison without trial.
Special Branch: You must concede something so that Lee Kuan Yew would be in
a position to explain to the public why you had been detained so long. Mr
Lee Kuan Yew must also preserve his face. If you were to be released
unconditionally, he will lose face.
Dr Lim Hock Siew: I am not interested in saving Lee Kuan Yew's face. This is
not a question of pride but one of principle. My detention is completely
unjustifiable and I will not lift a single finger to help Lee Kuan Yew to
justify the unjustifiable. In the light of what you say, is it not very
clear that I have lost my freedom all these long and bitter years just to
save Lee Kuan Yew's face? Therefore the P.A.P. regime's allegation that I am
a security risk is a sham cover and a facade to detain me unjustifiably for
over 9 years.
My stand on the Making of a Secret Oral Security Statement for the records
of the Special Branch
I cannot and will not make any statement to condemn my past political
activities. My past political activities were absolutely legitimate and
proper. Whatever I had done or said was in the interest of and in the
service of the masses of our people and of our country. Even an accused
person need not say anything to incriminate or to condemn himself. Why
should I who am arbitrarily detained without any kind of trial for over 9
years be coerced to act as an agent to the Special Branch by making a secret
deal behind the backs of the masses? I resolutely reject this demand.
Furthermore, I have not the slightest obligation to account my past
political activities to Lee Kuan Yew.
A. My Stand on the Demand of Making a Public Statement
I completely reject in principle the issuing of any public statement as a
condition of my release. This is a form of public repentance. History has
completely vindicated my position. I was arrested for opposing merger with
"Malaysia" because I held the view that "Malaysia" was a British sponsored
neo-colonialist product and the creation of "Malaysia", far from uniting our
people and our country, would cause greater dis-unity and dissension among
our people. I believe that the formation of Malaysia would be a step
backward and not forward in our struggle for national unity.
I have nothing to repent, to recant or to reform. If anything I have become
more reinforced in my convictions, more reaffirmed in my views and more
resolute to serve the people of Malaya fully and whole-heartedly. I have
nothing to concede to Lee Kuan Yew. By right, he should make a public
repentance to me and not I to him.
B. My Stand on the Demand that I must give up Politics in Exchange for my
I hold the view that these two demands are self-contradictory, because if
there is democracy, I need not give up politics. The fact that I had been
detained for over 9 years in order to coerce me to give up politics is proof
enough that there is no parliamentary democracy. The question of taking part
on politics is a fundamental right of the people.
An indirect offer was made to me to leave Singapore for further studies. I
have replied to the P.A.P. regime that if I had to leave the country at any
time, it must be on my own free volition and not under coercion by the P.A.P
C. My Stand on the Demand for support for Parliamentary System
I hold the view that to support the P.A.P. regime's so-called parliamentary
system would mean giving the public and the masses a false impression that
there exist today a genuine parliamentary democratic system in Singapore
Island. It is an undeniable and unforgettable fact that comrade LEE TSE TONG
who was elected by the people of Singapore in the 1963 General Elections,
was arbitrarily arrested and detained without trial soon after he was
elected. Subsequently, he was deprived of his citizenship and he is still
under detention as a so-called "banishee" in prisoner's clothes in
Queenstown prison. The arbitrary arrest and prolonged detention of Comrade
Lee Tse Tong affords concrete proof that the so-called parliamentary
democracy is a cruel mockery. It does not exist in Singapore Island. Giving
support to such a sham parliamentary system means complete betrayal of the
people. I will never betray the people of my country under any circumstance.
Bitter sacrifice strengthens bold resolve.
Parliamentary democracy does not mean merely casting of votes once in 5
years during election time. Far more important than this is the freedom of
thought, the freedom of expression, the freedom of association, the freedom
of organisation everyday during the 5 years period and continuously
thereafter. I was arrested when the Barisan Sosialis was actively
participating in the parliamentary system. For such participation, the
colonial government, the Lee Kuan Yew and Rahman regimes had rewarded me
with over 9 years of imprisonment. This again amply indicates the utter
shamness of the so-called parliamentary democratic system. After over 9
years of detention, I am now asked to give support to their so-called
parliamentary system in order to secure my release. I firmly refuse to give
my support for the sham and illusory democracy in Singapore Island.
My Stand on the Request by the Agents of the P.A.P. Regime to Concede
something to save Lee Kuan Yew's Face
Since history has fully vindicated my stand and my position, Lee Kuan Yew
should openly and publicly repent to me and to all other political
detainees, now unjustifiably detained in prison. By right a just and proper
base for my release from my prolonged and unjustifiable detention (and this
equally applies to all political detainees now under unjustifiable
detention) should be : -
a. Our unconditional and immediate release from detention and the complete
restoration of all our democratic and human rights.
b. Payment of adequate compensation to me and to all other political
detainees for the prolonged and unjustifiable detention in prison.
c. The issuance of public apology by Lee Kuan Yew to me.
We are willing and prepared to concede the last two conditions as listed
above. We do not believe that an arrogant man like Lee Kuan Yew will
aplogise or to compensate us.
On the first condition that is to say, our demand for unconditional and
immediate release from detention, and for the complete restoration of all
our democratic and human rights - we must resolutely say : WE WILL NEVER
CONCEDE, BITTER SACRIFICE STRENGTHENS BOLD RESOLVE.