14 Sep 07
I has been informed this morning (4 Sept), Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan was sent to prison, starting his 3 weeks sentence. He was convicted on the charge of attempting to leave the country.
Chee is my good friend. He is an extremely committed democratic fighter who is facing a much more oppressive situation than us in Malaysia.
He had been to prison several times. He was also bankrupted by a defamation suit by PM Goh Chok Tong and Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew in February 2006. Being bankrupt he was barred from leaving the country.
On 1 April 2006, Soon Juan was stopped at the airport immigration check point and his passport confiscated while trying to leave for the World Movement for Democracy conference in Turkey. In fact, Sdr Anwar and I were both in Istanbul for the same conference then. The conviction led to his imprisonment today.
In the spirit of Merdeka, we should admit our guilt as Malaysians. Malaysia partly contributed to the authoritarian regime in this island state. In 1963, Lee Kuan Yew used the merger with Malaysia to eliminate his political rivals from the Left. He used the entry into Malaysia to enact the Internal Security Act (ISA) and handed Tunku the responsibility for Singapore’s security. Lee seized the opportunity of the creation of Malaysia to establish his one-party state, and left the federation once he succeeded.
Thus it’s time for some solidarity. Malaysians should show their care and support for pro-democracy activism in our neighbour.
Mr. Tian Chua is the vice-president of Keadilan Party (National Justice Party) in Malaysia.