'Marxist Conspiracy' annniversay remembered

  May 21, 2002

BY Francis Seow

Marxist plot revisited
A detainee remembers

THIS day recalls a dark chapter in the political annals of Singapore known as the bogus Marxist Conspiracy and the infamous detention of innocent men and women simply because they were thinking and caring Singaporeans. It is meet that such a day should be remembered. You were the innocent victims of a vicious libel perpetrated by a machiavellian prime minister and his government -- aided by his security apparatus, and abetted by an abject news media -- accusing you of being dangerous conspirators plotting the violent overthrow of his government and replacing it with a Marxist state. Given your respective professions and callings and the egregious fact that so many of you then were not even known to one another, the accusation was truly breathtaking in its sweep and scope.

It defied belief -- and it still does -- that while the ministry of home affairs was assiduously accusing you in a series of official press releases of complicity in this dangerous conspiracy necessitating your arbitrary detention, the puissant prime minister was telling an anxious Roman Catholic Archbishop Gregory Yong and others at a private Istana meeting with a straight face that you were in fact "do-gooders". And not dangerous Marxists at all! That there was a serious contradiction in accusations did not seem to faze him. For the truth only surfaced long after the event at the defamation trial between Lee Kuan Yew and the Far Eastern Economic Review and others!

Meanwhile, you were detained, abused and tortured by minions of the state security apparatus to force you to confess to a conspiracy that never was and to the complicity and identity of fellow conspirators that never were on public television, a dastardly deed so beloved of the KGB in Stalinist Russia.

The Marxist Conspiracy was a monstrous fabrication by Harry Lee Kuan Yew to further his political agenda. It was to demonstrate to the younger PAP ministers how to deal with thinking and caring Singaporeans who, according to his perspective, "might in the course of doing good be influenced by Marxism along the way." It is not only his callousness but also his careless disregard for the truth that should make you ask yourselves: whither Singapore? And, by the same token, ask yourselves how many others before you have been criminally slandered in his pursuit and retention of political power?

The full story of the so-called 1987-88 Marxist Conspiracy underscoring the Actonian dictum on the corruption of power has yet to be written in all its gory details. It is only a matter of time.

Meanwhile, I can only urge you to take heart in each other's travails and learn from that experience. Good luck.