Hours before the dawn of 2 February 1963, the governments of Singapore, the Federation of Malaya and Britain launched “Operation Cold Store.” More than 120 left wing activists were arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA). They included leaders and key members of Barisan Sosialis, Partai Rakyat, trade unions, university students’ unions and other organisations.
More arrests were carried out on 26 September and 8 October of the same year. Such ruthless persecution and infringement of human rights has continued in Singapore till today.
Detainees were incarcerated for decades without trial. Lee Tee Tong and the late Dr Lim Hock Siew were detained for 20 years; Said Zahari, Dr Poh Soo Kai and the late Ho Piao for 17 years and Chia Thye Poh a record 32 years. Many others were banished from Singapore or forced to flee. Tai Yuan, for example, was banished to Hong Kong after 8 years of imprisonment.
50 years have passed since Operation Cold Store. A good number of the political detainees had departed without restitution for the injustice done to them. In commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Operation Cold Store, we remember the young men and women who sacrificed their youth in pursuit of their dream for an independent Malaya embracing Singapore and building a multicultural nation in which all communities would enjoy equality and respect for human rights and democracy.
Come and join us.
Date: Saturday, 2 February 2013
Time: 4pm – 7pm
Venue: Hong Lim Park, Singapore