This article first appeared in SINGAPORE DEMOCRATS
In an interview which Lianhe Zaobao (28 Feb 10) did with Dr Chee Soon Juan, reporter Ms Yew Tun Lian implied that Dr Chee was being funded by foreigners to undermine Singapore. This story was also reported by the Straits Times (1 Mar 10).
Dr Chee replied to the newspapers, pointing out that it was the PAP Government that was undermining the interests of Singaporeans through its so-called foreign talent policy, its continued pandering to MNCs, and its use of foreigners in the National Wages Council.
The newspapers, however, insisted that they would publish the SDP leader’s letter only if these points regarding the PAP were deleted (Straits Times Forum: Chee claims ZB interview implied he was anti-S’pore – 17 Mar 10).
Even this sentence was censored: “Is my endeavour working against Singaporeans’ interests or am I working against the PAP’s interests? I wonder just who is really undermining Singapore’s interests.”
If the PAP wants to have a debate of who is undermining Singapore’s interests, it is most welcome. But let’s not do this by censoring the SDP’s views.
The original letter that was sent to ST and LHZB with the deleted portions in bold is reproduced here:
Just who is undermining Singapore’s interests?
In your report Chee on foreign funds, Chiam’s exit from SDP (1 March 2010), your reporter wrote:
In the [LHZB] article, the interviewer asked him about rumours that he had been able to engage in civil disobedience and other activities here because he received financing from foreign donors.
The article said that, after much probing, he replied: ‘I am an academic, and will occasionally receive research funding from overseas. I have written award-winning books, and have taken part in overseas research programmes.’
But Dr Chee did not say what the research entailed. All he would say was: ‘Maybe research like human behaviour.’
The way that the report is written is clearly an attempt to portray me as being evasive about my income. I had told the LHZB reporter, Ms Yew Lun Tian, clearly that I depended on my books and from time to time, help from my relatives for survival.
Because she found it hard to believe that this was sufficient, I told her that we lived simply and frugally.
At one point she said she felt embarrassed about having to ask me where I lived and what kind of HDB flat I lived in. This is an indication that she was aware that she was probing into my personal matters. Nonetheless, I obliged her by answering her question.
Yet Ms Yew reported it in such a way that I was trying to avoid her answer and had something to hide.
What is left unsaid, although clearly implied, is that I may be a stooge of a foreign agent conducting activities against Singapore.
This is the favoured line of an autocratic regime and its controlled media: They portray their opponents as traitorous individuals in cahoots with foreigners to undermine the country.
In what way do I harm Singapore’s interests by fighting for democracy and the political rights of Singaporeans?
[Compare what I do to what the PAP does: The Government brings in foreigners by the millions at the expense of Singaporeans, causing the locals economic uncertainty and hardship.
The National Wages Council, which help to determine the level of wages of Singaporeans, continue to have foreigners such as Americans, German, and Japanese sitting in it. For the record, real income of Singaporeans have stagnated in the recent past and the cost of living has far outstripped wages for most Singaporeans.
But perhaps the clearest indication that the PAP Government works against the interest of Singapore and her workers came from the late Ong Teng Cheong. In January 1986 Mr Ong, then deputy prime minister and NTUC secretary-general, had sanctioned a strike by the shipping industry which he did not inform the cabinet.
This was Mr Ong’s account: “The minister for trade and industry was very angry, his officers were very upset. They had calls from America asking what happened to Singapore – we are non-strike.”
Why do American bosses need to call the PAP Government about a strike carried out by Singaporean workers? Why does it have to account to American businesses for what it does in Singapore? Who does the Government listen to, American MNCs or Singaporean workers?
The important question that must be asked is what are Singapore’s interests? They must not be conflated with the PAP’s interests?
Is the PAP Government’s policy to invest and subsequently lose more than $100 billion in investments in Western banks while poor Singaporeans go hungry and homeless working in the interest of Singapore?]
In all my years of service to this country, I have always worked with one and only one objective in mind: To speak up for my fellow citizens and empower them so that they can stand up for themselves.
[Is my endeavour working against Singaporeans’ interests or am I working against the PAP’s interests? I wonder just who is really undermining Singapore’s interests.]
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party