The National University of Singapore has declined to comment on academic, Dr Thum Ping Tjin’s claim that he had been penalised for conducting critical research on Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Dr Thum – historian and Research Associate at Oxford University’s Centre for Global History – worked at NUS’ Asia Research Institute between 2012 and 2014. In an interview with Al Jazeera, the researcher claimed that after he began publishing and giving lectures about his research on the elder statesman, a senior staff member at the University privately informed him that he “would never be able to work in Singapore as an academic…again”.
The historian’s research had been critical of Lee, particularly for the use of defamation without trial. Dr Thum had asserted that his work has “proved that (Mr Lee) had lied about his use of detention without trial from the 1960s onward”.
NUS told reporters on Wednesday that it was “not aware” of the private exchange that allegedly occurred between Dr Thum and a senior staff member.
A spokesman for the institution also declined to comment on whether Dr Thum had been penalised for his critical research on Lee and only said that Dr Thum resigned from the Asia Research Institute in October 2014.
Dr Thum speaks about the private conversation with the NUS senior staff from 19:00 onwards.