Letter to the Straits Times forum by Lionel De Souza:
I READ last Friday’s report, ‘Ex-ISA detainees remember 1987 arrests’, with some consternation.
I cannot fathom the necessity to resurrect and commemorate the arrest of members of a Marxist conspiracy that aimed to create a state of anarchy and topple the government 22 years ago.
My perception is that the commemoration was calculated to stir disquiet, as some people cannot bear to see Singaporeans happy and satisfied with the Government’s competence and proactiveness in softening the effects of the financial crisis for Singaporeans from all strata.
The $13.6 billion stimulus package payouts, coupled with tax cuts and rebates to put cash in the pockets of consumers and resuscitate domestic demand, and generous Jobs Credit to keep companies afloat and prevent mass retrenchments, the farsightedness of the Government in using the downturn to upgrade skills, plus spending $4.4 billion on infrastructure, health and education improvement have certainly aroused jealousy against the Government’s ‘lifeboat’ packages.
This has caused certain elements to fume when they see most Singaporeans content and happy with what the Government is doing to make their lives a little more meaningful in these trying times.
Hence, these people, fearing they will be forgotten, have again raised their ugly heads to agitate the public by staging the ‘pantomime’ at Speakers’ Corner that drew a miserable crowd of about 50 people, which testifies to the public indifference to such antics.
Those who advocate the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA) should dream again. They should thank their lucky stars they and their loved ones enjoy peace and racial and religious harmony.
If there was no ISA, Singaporeans would be living on the edge because of terrorist threats and perhaps, senseless violence perpetrated by unseen foreign puppeteers controlling their local puppets to create mayhem in Singapore.
Detention under the ISA does not breach a detainee’s constitutional rights. It therefore follows that it is better that a few who choose to preach the doctrine of conspiracy to topple the legitimate government by illegal means pay for their folly by doing time under the ISA, than have the nation destroyed.
Lionel De Souza
In 1988, in the same Straits Times forum page. (We apologise for the poor quality of the print out.)