Political Detainees and Hunger Strikes

Operation Coldstore (started as a covert operation in 2 February 1963) led to the arrest of over 100 people (most prominently Barisan Sosialis leaders), who were detained without trial under the Preservation of Public Service Security Ordinance (PSSO). This operation however continued even after the 1965 independence of Singapore from the Malaysian Federations. This propaganda flyer from the 1970s was made by dissidents at that time, asking for the release of the political detainees (stating the brutal oppressive regime, as well as hunger strikes), and also for the abolishment of the Lee Kuan Yew and the Tun Abdul Razak Hussein coalitions which technically should be viewed as separate entities at that time. The overall motive of the flyer was to rile up the Chinese populace at that time.

The illustrations showed a crudely drawn figure of Lee Kuan Yew, bearded and rotund, wearing designs of the American and British flags on his pants, standing on the platform with the words Freedom and Democracy, and holding out a placard with the People’s Action Party logo and the words Freedom of Speech, while the audiences below were tied up with the stakes written “Oppositions” on their backs. The words 格殺勿論 (which translates to “Kill on the spot with no other admittance”) sprawled on the side of the figures. The front page detailed in Chinese on how the political detainees went on a hunger strike for a day on the 9th of August to protest against the Lee/Razak regime and demanded that the continuous persecution to be stopped, and to immediately release the political detainees. It also detailed the passionate patriotism of the political detainees, the fascistic nature of the regime as well as the unyielding qualities of their revolution.

On the other page, there was an essay titled “強烈抗議無理逮捕” (Strongly resisting unreasonable arrest). It detailed that the Lee Kuan Yew and Tun Razak coalitions had arrested more than 50 patriots from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur between 18 June-22 June 1974, which included prominent lawyer T.T. Rajah. And the regime had promised to arrest even more. It mentioned that since 10 years ago, many people were already arrested including Dr Lim Hock Siew, Said Zahari, Lee Tse Tong, Ho Piao, Dr Chia Thye Poh, Lim Hock Koon. Whitley Detention Centre, Central Police Station and Moon Crescent Detention Centre were described as main venues where the detainees were kept, and whereby tortures took place  (denying Diabetic medicine for T.T. Rajah, factory worker like Tan Ghim Shou severely wounded from beatings, etc). Further in the essay, it described that while the Lee coalition had started diplomatic relationships with the People’s Republic of China, it still continued in its fascistic manner towards activists, trade unions, media and dissidents. The last part of the essay called for abolishment of the Lee/Razak coalitions for the liberty of its people from the oppressions, to build a fairer society and nation. The essay was signed off by the family members of the political detainees dated August 1974.


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