It was reported on TOC that Ministry if Foreign Affairs’ press release about Singapore had never supported the Khmer Rogue contradicted with what Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew wrote in his memoir (‘MFA says Singapore did not support the Khmer Rogue but LKY’s book reveals that it provided US$55 million in aid to the Cambodian resistance movement against Vietnam‘, 10 Jan).
In the press release by the MFA last Fri (7 Jun), it stated, “Singapore had no sympathy for the Khmer Rouge, and did not want to see the Khmer Rouge return to Cambodia. In 1988, ASEAN sponsored UN General Assembly resolutions condemning the Khmer Rouge to ensure it would not be part of any eventual government in Cambodia.”
However, prior to 1988, Singapore seemed to have taken a different position in support of the Khmer Rouge at the time it was ousted by Vietnam in 1979.
Singapore supplied AK-47 rifles, hand grenades, ammunition and communications equipment
In his memoir, ‘From Third World to First: The Singapore Story, 1965-2000, Volume 2’, Mr Lee Kuan Yew confirmed that Singapore had been aiding the Khmer Rouge extensively prior to 1988.
In 1982, Singapore gave the first few hundreds of several batches of AK-47 rifles, hand grenades, ammunition and communication equipment to the resistance forces “spearheaded by the Khmer Rouge”, Mr Lee recounted. Singapore also provided a base for the resistance group to broadcast short-wave radio from. With the help of Singapore and others, the Khmer Rouge forces were able to even mount offensive operations in 1983-84, recalled Mr Lee.
“We were providing the Khmer Rouge and China with political support which they could not muster on their own,” recalled Mr Lee. “Chinese military aid had ensured that the Khmer Rouge remained the strongest force.”
Lee Kuan Kew’s account confirmed by investigative journalist
Award winning investigative journalist John Pilger in his book, ‘Tell Me No Lies‘, also confirmed that Singapore, as middle man, became the main ‘conduit’ for Western arms to Cambodia. He wrote that weapons were passed on directly by Singapore or made under licence by Chartered Industries; the “same weapons have been captured from the Khmer Rouge”.
So, from Lee Kuan Yew’s writings, it can be seen that Singapore did support the Khmer Rouge in the initial years after it was ousted by Vietnam but then changed tack later to condemn the Khmer Rouge.