On Sunday, August 25, People’s Voice Party (PVP) Chief Lim Tean, political exile Tan Wah Piow, PVP member Mohamed Nassir Ismail and activist Leong Sze Hian held a discussion in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Their discussion, ‘Will the Singapore Opposition make a breakthrough in the coming GE?’ focused on political unity.
The group also met with Malaysian Member Of Parliament for Petaling Jaya, Ms Maria Chin Abdullah, on Monday (August 26). In a Facebook post, Lim Tean wrote that Ms Maria Chin Abdullah is known for her role in the Bersih Movement was imprisoned by the Najib Government for organising the last Bersih protest.
Yesterday evening, Lim Tean also announced that the group met and had dinner with Datuk Noor Faridah Mohd Ariffin.
In another Facebook post, Lim Tean wrote, “Datuk Noor Faridah is a Pioneer Member and spokesperson for the very influential group of eminent Malays known as the G25, made up of senior civil servants, retired judges etc. They were very vocal in their opposition to the former Najib regime and were fearless in speaking out against the worst excesses of that regime”.
Last year, a group led by Dr Thum and dissident Tan Wah Piow met with Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad on August 30. The group invited Dr. Mahathir as a guest speaker at a conference on democracy. The group that met with the Malaysian Prime Minister included author Sonny Liew, journalist Kirsten Han, and civil rights activist and current Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) member Jolovon Wham.
The following day, Dr. PJ Thum put up a photo of himself with Dr. Mahathir on Facebook, writing, “I met with Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir today. I urged him to take leadership in Southeast Asia for the promotion of democracy, human rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of information. I also expressed hopes for closer relations between the people of Malaysia and Singapore, and presented him with a copy of ‘Living with Myths in Singapore’.
Dr. Thum has been criticized specifically by Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, who characterized Dr. Thum’s doings as “a little sad, a bit regretful.” Mr. Shanmugam also said that a foreign politician should never be invited to intervene in our domestic politics, calling this “an absolute no-no.”
Dr Thum also faced many allegations of him being traitorous to the nation, which he has denied.
The current group of Lim Tean, Tan Wah Piow, Mohamed Nassir Ismail and Leong Sze Hian seems to run in similar circles to the lot that met with Dr Mahathir last year.
In September last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released a statement saying that activists Kirsten Han, Jolovan Wham and Thum Ping-tjin had “crossed a red line by inviting foreign leaders to intervene in Singapore politics”.
They wrote, “The three individuals claim that they are patriots. It is not patriotic to invite any foreign leader to intervene in Singapore politics, especially the leader of a country who has declared his desire to increase the price of water to Singapore by more than 10 times, and with whom we seek to maintain close and friendly relations.”
The MHA letter was signed by Mr Sunny Lee, press secretary to Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.
The MHA also said of Mr Tan Wah Piow: “Mr Tan, a former Singaporean and a fugitive from the law, gave an interview after the meeting, also expressing the hope that Dr Mahathir and Malaysia could influence politics in Singapore.
The MHA statement concluded: “We can have vigorous debates within Singapore about our own affairs. But you cross a red line when you invite foreign powers or foreign leaders into Singapore politics.”
While Lim Tean, Tan Wah Piow, Mohamed Nassir Ismail and Leong Sze Hian did not elaborate on their discussions in Malaysia, will they too be considered to have “crossed a red line”? -/TISG