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Screenshot of Today Online's article

TODAYonline made a huge error in its article covering the meeting between Dr. Mahathir and Mr Tan Wah Piow

I believe that TODAYonline has made a huge error in its article covering the meeting between second time Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir and Mr Tan Wah Piow.

TODAYonline states that "Mr Tan was involved in a planned Marxist coup in 1987 and had his Singapore citizenship revoked." This statement was made unequivocally without any caveats which is inaccurate and misleading.

Mr Tan was accused of a Marxist conspiracy by the Singapore government. This so-called conspiracy has since been debunked and ridiculed a million times over. These conspiracy theories have in fact been labelled as "fanciful" and "myths" by prominent historians. Mr Tan himself has strenuously denied any such coup attempts.

To state in such a clear and decisive manner that Mr Tan had his citizenship revoked due to his involvement in a planned Marxist coup is a misrepresentation to say the least.

Not to mention that Mr Tan had his citizenship revoked under section 135(1) of the Singapore constitution for being a resident outside Singapore for a continuous period of 10 years.

Straits Times report on 10 October 1987

Even if the author of the article believes Mr Tan to be guilty, he or she needs to be mindful of the difference between personal bias or belief and proven fact. Has it ever been proven in a court of law that there was a Marxist conspiracy in the first place? Or in this case, have Mr Tan proven to be the mastermind behind the alleged conspiracy?

Beyond detentions without trial under the Internal Securities Act, there has been no charge or conviction. Detainees of that time have since spoken out about what they deem an unlawful detention. There are even allegations of torture leveled against the authorities.

In the face of all this controversy, it is safe to say that there is definitely more that meets the eye. Mr Tan may have been "alleged" by the authorities to have been part of a Marxist Coup. It cannot, however, be said in the black and white manner that TODAYonline has said that he was involved in a planned Marxist Coup in 1987 and had his citizenship revoked as a result.

TODAYonline presents as facts that Mr Tan was involved in the Marxist conspiracy and that there was a planned coup in the first place. Based on interviews that have since been given by the detainees as well as various other articles and research since published, it is doubtful that there was a planned Marxist coup to begin with! Mr Tan may have been guilty of being a do gooder civil rights activist. That does not a communist insurgent make.

TODAYonline ought to be more careful with its choice of words. Leaving out the word "alleged" and not setting a context for those dubious charges against Mr Tan is irresponsible in its inaccuracy.