WP released a public statement yesterday (8 Dec), standing by the Singaporean men and women who have been activated to deal with the recent intrusions by Malaysian vessels into Singapore territorial waters.
“The Workers’ Party stands by our men and women in all our security and enforcement agencies who have been activated to deal with the incursion of Malaysian vessels into Singapore waters. They have our full support,” it said.
WP noted with grave concern regarding the current deployment of Malaysian Government vessels into Singapore waters off Tuas West.
“As fraternal neighbours with a wide-ranging bilateral relationship, both Singapore and Malaysia cooperate on many fronts, including the military front, with exercises and visits by senior personnel to each other’s countries and training areas,” WP said.
“There is a deep economic relationship between both neighbours with much more to be potentially reaped for both Malaysians and Singaporeans through economic collaboration. The people of both countries are deeply invested in each other through ties of family and friendship.”
WP called for resolution of any disagreements between Singapore and Malaysia through bilateral negotiation or through a third-party adjudication process, in view of the “unique and deep bilateral relationship” between the 2 countries.
“Escalatory actions like the unilateral deployment of vessels to engender new facts on the ground are not only unnecessary and provocative, they do not set the right tone for Singapore-Malaysia relations for our people and in particular, the younger generation of Singaporeans and Malaysians,” it added.
Price of sacrifice
Indeed, in conflicts among nations, it would usually be the front-line troops who would have to go through great ordeals and at times, pay the price of sacrifice.
The politicians in WP understand this as many of them have served their National Service. Take for example, former WP Chief Low Thia Khiang, served as an instructor at a shooting range during his NS, which later contributed to his hearing loss.
In a 2009 interview, Mr Low told the interviewer that he had lost 50 per cent of high frequency hearing in both ears probably from not wearing earplugs at the shooting range during his NS days in the 70s when he served as an instructor.
The severity of the problem did not hit Mr Low until he realised he could not hear during Parliament in his later years. He was seeking clarification in one Parliament sitting but then-Speaker Tan Soo Khoon told him to sit down and wait for the others to finish. “But I carried on, and he thought this guy was trying to be funny,” he recalled the incident. At first Mr Low wondered why the Speaker was so angry and it was only after the session that he realised he had hearing problems.
Today, he is half-deaf and have to rely on a hearing aid. Even so, some PAP MP chose to ridicule him in Parliament over his handicap.
During a parliamentary debate in 2013, PAP MP Lim Wee Kiak had charged that WP’s position on the number of new citizens differed from what Mr Low said during the previous year’s Budget debate. When Mr Low countered that his remarks had been taken out of context, MP Lim said, “I will quote (from your speech then) one more time. And maybe your hearing aid has to be (turned) up a little bit.” Mr Low did not respond to Lim’s insult. But later, Lim was forced to apologise over his insensitive remarks about Mr Low’s handicap.
In any case, WP understands the ordeal the front-line troops are put to and did not hesitate to stand behind these ordinary citizen soldiers who are currently going through great stress on their boats trying to perform their duties fending off the incursion by Malaysian vessels.