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Artist and human rights activist, Mr Seelan Palay, has sent a video entitled Francis Seow: The Interview to the Board of Film Censors for rating. The 40-minute interview shows the former solicitor-general speaking on a range of issues from his life in the US to Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his ministers.
Mr Seelan tells this website that the Media Development Authority insists that he submits the video as a political party film.
But Mr Seow is neither a member of a political party nor a politician, Mr Seelan points out. It doesn’t matter, the MDA insists, the interview is a political party video and has to be submitted as one.
Mr Seow was detained under the ISA in 1987 after he decided to represent Ms Teo Soh Lung who was herself a lawyer and detained without trial during Operation Spectrum. She and her colleagues were accused of being part of a Marxist plot to overthrow the Government.
Mr Seow, on the other hand, was accused of colluding with the the CIA to form an opposition in Singapore.
The truth, as Mr Seow recounts in his book To Catch A Tartar, was that he had been in discussion with PAP stalwarts Mr Devan Nair (former president) and Dr Toh Chin Chye (former deputy prime mnister), who had grown disillusioned with the party they had helped found, to enable the former solicitor-general to take part in the 1988 general elections as an opposition candidate.
Mr Seow was shortly thereafter arrested and detained for 72 days. After his release, he contested the 1988 general elections and subsequently left Singapore. He has been living in the US since.
In the interview, Mr Seow talks at length about Mr Lee and how he instills fear in his subordinates, including cabinet ministers.
On his entry into the opposition Mr Seow said:
Lee Kuan Yew didn’t want me to go into opposition politics because I was his law officer, his top law officer at that time. And if I went into the opposition, what do you think was going to happen? Life can be very difficult, right? So he thought this guy was chicken, we’ll put pressure and he’ll just ease off…
We will keep readers updated on the developments of Mr Seelan’s application for the interview to be rated.
In the meantime, the Government rated the Singapore Rebel, a documentary made by Mr Martyn See about Dr Chee Soon Juan, M18 (for mature audiences) after banning it for several years. But the ban was insignificant as the film had already been watched by hundreds of thousands of people since it first appeared on YouTube.