Friday, 13 December 2013

The Unseen Singapore #16 PAP MP Series: Lee Kuan Yew - Internal Security Act

Singaporeans are familiar with the Internal Security Act, it is the law which gives the Government of the day broad powers to detain any individual without open trial. Essentially, if someone is deemed a security threat to the country, the government has the right to throw him in jail and lock him away indefinitely. These powers if left unchecked can lead to abuses and many are concerned with it being immorally used against the government's political opponents. 

These allegations of abuse were most evident in 1963 Operation Coldstore and 1987 Operation Spectrum when the ISA was invoked to arrest numerous individuals on grounds of Communism and Marxism. Ever since those controversial and highly debatable events, the ISA has been used in recent years against the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network in Singapore. 

Despite the perceived "legitimate" usage of the Internal Security Act against these terrorist elements, The  Unseen Singapore would like to re-emphasize the dangers of investing such unregulated powers into any authority. What better way to demonstrate this than to take point from Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. 

Going back to 1959, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's own words epitomized the very dangers of such abuse. In order to push for Singapore's merger into the Federation, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew brazenly threatened any journalists who wrote anything that could "sour up or strain relations between the Federation and Singapore". 

He proclaimed that any such journalist would "go in for subversion ... and will be taken in under the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance (Internal Security Act)" and that he would "put him in and keep him in"! In order to further his own political agenda, Lee Kuan Yew was willing to abuse the ISA and clamp down on the concept of the Free Press. 

Such is the dangers of the Internal Security Act and Singaporeans must understand its dangers and stand up for their own civil liberties. 


1 comment:

  1. the old fart should just die already! such a waste of air that this tyrant is still around.