by Teo Soh Lung
The midnight raid by the secret police of the home of Mr Koh Eng Khoon, Chairman of the Association for Recycling of Second Hand Goods on 29 April 2017 should alarm and concern all of us.
We should not dismiss this act of state terrorism lightly by assuring ourselves that such raids will never happen to us. I too was under such a delusion until 1987, when not only my home and office were raided and properties seized at dawn by the secret police, I was also imprisoned without trial.
I am sure Mr Koh never expected a raid of his home and the seizure of his mobile phone. He was merely speaking up for his 200 odd elderly members. He had done nothing wrong. He did everything openly – sending letters and petition to ministers and members of parliament, pleading for alternative space for his members so that they can carry on a meagre form of independent living without or with as little financial assistance from the government.
Mr Koh is 76 years old. Our government has constantly reminded us that we should honour and respect the elderly, the pioneer generation, for they have contributed greatly to the progress of Singapore. This generation was largely ignored until after the 2011 general election when the government lost nearly 40% of the popular votes.
Then just before the 2015 general election, they received a little assistance from the government. It is believed that because of this that they magnanimously forgave the People's Action Party (PAP) and voted overwhelmingly for them. I do not have the evidence to support this belief but online users have been keen to remind that this generation deserve such ill treatment because they voted for the PAP.
I do not agree that we should ignore the plight of Mr Koh and the pioneers even if they voted (which cannot be proven or disproven) for the PAP at the last election. We have reached a crucial stage when we cannot afford to be divided as the PAP want us to be. Young or old, economically active or retired, we have all contributed and continue to contribute to the progress of our country. Our combined effort enabled us to pay millions to our ministers who are supposed to look after our interest.
Today, the home of Mr Koh is raided by the secret police without a warrant. Yesterday, a 17-year-old (Amos Yee) was hounded out of Singapore. In between, there have been several instances when peaceful citizens have had their homes raided and their computers and mobile phones seized. It is pretty clear that this government does not respect us and will use whatever means to control us.
Our freedom of speech and assembly have already been taken away from us a long time ago. Today, we need to come together to reclaim our lost rights by standing on the side of Mr Koh. We cannot remain neutral and unaffected, hoping that by doing so, we ourselves will be safe from such midnight raids.