24 years ago on May 21st
May 21, 2011, 3:25 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Internal Security Act, Singapore

24 years ago on this day, 22 individuals were arrested and held under the Internal Security Act (ISA). They were labelled as Marxist Conspirators and were detained without trial, cruelly tortured and forced to confess to the false allegations slapped upon them.

Yes, such things happened in Singapore more than once, and was out of the political insecurity of one man and his (political) party.

Today, many of them are sharing their stories. They have written books, spoken up during forums as well as in the recent GE. Some of them are currently involved in opposition politics, some of them in academia, and the rest have retired from their professions.

I have met some of them personally and got to know a few of them more than the rest. They are one of the nicest and most humble people I have ever come across in my life. It has been very heart wrenching knowing what they have gone through and realising that I have no power to undo whatever was done to them. They were never given the chance to prove themselves innocent as there was never a trial. Is this fair? How can one who lives for justice agree with such an unfair system within the rule of law called the ISA – a system that allows the authorities to detain and accuse an individual or a group of people without the need for a trial before a Court of Law?

Well I cannot and have never agreed with such a system. The ISA must go, and the government must set up an inquiry to investigate what went on during the detention that happened in 1963 and 1987 and more.

The following is Vincent Cheng’s historical speech at SDP’s pre-election rally held at Speakers’ Corner last year. From the bottom of my heart, I thank Vincent for sharing with all of us what happened during his detention, and I thank Soh Lung for doing the same in her book Beyond The Blue Gate.

My past actions regarding this issue:

An open letter to Mr Lee Kuan Yew

Remember May 21 (A note of thanks)

Read also:

21 May 1987

Episodes the Singaporean history textbooks forgot.


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