By: B Goode
Yoong Siew Wah blogs at singaporerecalcitrant.blogspot.sg
Yoong Siew Wah is a former ISD Director from 1971-1974.
In his blogspost on Lee Kuan Yew’s passing, Yoong Siew Wah repeated what LKY’s dissenters have already made; that LKY was ruthless when it came to his political opponents. He went further to advise LKY’s son, Lee Hsien Loong “to redeem a little bit of your late father’s handiwork by relaxing the inordinate persecution of Francis Seow and Tang Liang Hong by allowing them safe return to Singapore to lead a normal life.”
It is not my intention to discuss whether LKY was a saint or a sinner. History has an impeccable way of writing itself.
What caught my eyes when reading that article was a name; Chia Thye Poh.
Chia Thye Poh is the longest person to be detained without trial in Singapore; for almost 32 years, since the mid-sixties. Longer than Nelson Mandela was incarcerated.
So you would expect that Chia Thye Poh, more than Francis Seow or Tang Liang Hong, to be given more `air-time’ by Yoong Siew Wah in his article about the LKY’s erroneous ways. But nope. He was only given a cursory mention, as if the writer was ashamed to mention Chia Thye Poh’s name, or was hiding something.
And why wouldn’t he? When Yoong Siew Wah was the ISD Director from 1971 – 1974, Chia Thye Poh was still in detention under the ISA. So whether he likes it or not, he was complicit in Chia Thye Poh’s detention. After all, as the ISD Director, one would think that he had to pen his signature on the Detention Order somewhere.
What were his assessment and recommendation with regard to Chia Thye Poh? Understandably he will not be able to provide the answers as he is still governed under the OSA. But the fact that Chia Thye Poh was detained throughout the 3 years or so that Yoong Siew Wah was the ISD director showed that he had at least assessed that Chia Thye Poh was a security risk.
Or if he had assessed otherwise, then it would mean that he had allowed his conscience to betray him in that he had consented to LKY continuing to detain Chia Thye Poh.
So which is which? Either way, it wouldn’t look good on his resume.
So why this sudden urge to champion the cause of Tang Liang Hong and Francis Seow, both cases happened way after his stint as Director ISD? Why not champion the cause of a case he had intimate knowledge of? Was it because he found his closet too small that he had to poke into others’?
If he wants to attack a man, a dead man, at least be consistent. Do not try to release a red herring or two hoping that people will not see the dirt under the carpet.
Now that he has retired and is enjoying the fruits of his labour, mostly earned under LKY’s patronage, he should just keep his peace or continue to make observations about the MRT or the present political climate. Indeed about almost anything under the sun.
But just don’t go wander off somewhere where he might see ghosts, because those ghosts might haunt him.