Dr Tan Cheng Bock supported 1987 arrest of “Marxist conspirators”

Dr Tan Cheong Bock, former PAP MP for Ayer Rajah and potential presidential candidate, supported the PAP Government’s 1987 arrest of “Marxist conspirators” in the months after the arrests. (See here.)

In a Straits Times article “Most think Govt acted rightly, says Cheng Bock” dated 30 July 1987, Dr Tan said that the majority of Singaporeans were satisfied that the government had acted appropriately, and he was also quoted as saying:

“There is a certain group of solid citizens who, because of their links with the detainees either through a shared religion or community work, have yet to accept the reasons for their detention.”

In the same Straits Times article, Dr Tan Cheng Bock said that internal unhappiness over the ISA arrests stemmed from the “misconception” that the government’s action was aimed at stifling opposition.

Dr Tan asked rhetorically:

“Has this action or previous actions under the ISA ever discouraged dissent or political activities?”

“Have political rallies been banned, political forums been banned? Has anyone who attended the meeting been arrested?”

“Have publications of political parties been banned? Have people who spoke up or asked questions in any forum or dialogue sessions been dealt with?”

Dr Tan also cautioned Singaporeans against being “deceived” by the “harmless” demeanour of the detainees. He said: “Look at Chin Peng, who has a mild, smiling, meek and kind-looking face. But he is the boss of the Communist Party of Malaya.

  1. Thank you sgpolitics for highlighting Mr Tan Cheng Bock’s used-to-be-convenient yet now-uncomfortable link with the PAP over the ISA detention.

    With scrutiny on the internet, no politician can run away from his/her less than honest or morally upright past.

  2. even the catholic bishop has to acquiescence to the arrest of the activists due to the heavy-hand tactics of LKY. You can’t expect Tan Cheng Bock to go against the grain and side with the activists and being castigated by LKY for supporting “Marxist conspirators”. MSM was totally controlled by LKY. Tan cheng bock’s reputation would have been smeared if he said otherwise.

    Now,in a more open environment,he should apologize and make a clear stand on this matter, but that doesn’t take away the fact that he is still a good candidate we should support for presidential election.

  3. As far as I know the only pappies who disagreed with the arrests were Dr Toh, Dr Tony Tan, and Mr S Dhanabalan. The rest by their silence also consented to the arrests. The Catholic ministers and mps are an absolute disgrace. Between their God and gold, obviously they chose gold.

  4. Given Tan Cheng Bok stand on the maxist plot I will not be voting for him as president. Tan Kin Lian is a better candidate.

  5. Yes, Tan Kin Lian is the first choice or maybe Ho even Kwon Ping. The arrest of the marxist conspiracy is a stain on our national consciousness. Those who publickly supported these arrests will have to bear with the consequences

  6. Dr Tan declared his intention and welcome Singaporean to assess him. Those having doubts, please post comments on his blog so that he can address accordingly.
    If the PE not contested, the happiest person will be the PAP. When Pappies knew that Dr. Tan confirmed standing on, they’re shaking and having nightmares. Maybe start thinking ways to disqualify him and/or discourage voters to support him.

  7. During the sars crisis, he cry all the way in the TV. What a shame.He care for himself & family.How to B a President.Pariah Guy.

  8. From his view point, he is not a truthful person and not suitable for presidency. I would like my president to be a complete truthful person not making comments based on the press or info fed by the government. If why do we even need another person drawing 4.2 million per year saying the same thing the government is saying and again becoming another useless waste of money.

    Seemed he may even be a plot by the PAP to create a wayang competition actually already decided to choose him to be president.

  9. The whole world knows Chin Peng is a dangerous commie, but those arrest during the 1987 were NOT!

    Seems that even til today there were not evidence that those arrested were proven to be maxist!

    If Tan Cheng Bock support arresting the innocent, then he don’t deserve to be president!

    So much for another PAP wayang man!

  10. Perhaps, Mr Goh Chok Tong should also run for President. He could certainly contribute much to the nation as a Elected President especially now he has left the Cabinet.

    His running for Elected Presidency could also path the way for By-Election to be held in Marine Parade GRC where Mr George Yeo and / or other PAP’s highly competent candidates who had lost in Aljunied GRC could have another opportunity to be elected to the Parliament. We certainly hope Mr George Yeo could be elected so that he could implement the reform he promised.

    The By-Election will also serve as a gauge for the Government to evaluate the People’s acceptance and reactions to the couple of changes and initiatives the Government has implemented after the GE 2011.

  11. Although Dr TCB opening supported the arrest, we need to also take in perspective that most Singaporeans including many of us not related to the people arrested believe that the arrest was for the greater good of Singapore too.

    Back in 1987, there was no internet for alternative views. As a back bencher then, it is very unlikely that TCB even knows the true story. He was just as he always was, voicing out what he believe was right and what was wrong.

    I do not know Dr. Tan personally but I remember him as a straight forward person that is not afraid to speak his mind even if it is against what everyone else thinks. That appears have been very consistent 30 years ago and now.

    That courage to speak and fight for what one believe to be right is a most crucial trait for our president. I for one believe that he would make a good president. Certainly much better than any “yes” men or women pre-approved by the party.

  12. 1987 “Marxist conspirators” ?? Are they innocent?? the evidence given to public is a lie?? If this is the case, can someone uphold justice, stand up and tell the Government, the action on “Marxiist” is an unlawful plots and is unacceptable by people.

    1987, I still a baby, dont know head & tail about this case.. So anyone who has better understanding should stand up and give those innocent back with justice.

    I think Dr.Tan cant do much right now,firstly someone have to prove with evidence that the government action is wrong and the statement giving to him is false.

    If really there is concrete evidence that can over ride the evidence produced by government. A petitions can be forward to President to request for commission of equiry to re-investigate the case..

  13. @Donny… “that most Singaporeans including many of us not related to the people arrested believe that the arrest was for the greater good of Singapore too.”

    I don’t think most Singaporeans including you believe that the arrest was for the greater good of Singapore..

    there are I believe many Singaporeans who do not think so, including me.

    good for that the internet.. and social media is now so pervasive that nothing escapes for scrutiny for netizens, and god that EJay is sharing this information.

  14. I would vote for TCB if he promised to get the courts to open up the cases again for re-trial and give everyone involve a fair trial.

  15. Thanks Soh Lung for reminding me of the “Maxist” issue under the ISA. Now I asking myself, is Tan Cheng Bock a political opportunist?

  16. Look like Tan Cheng Bok stand on the maxist plot and agree some of detainee were arrested , but he must able to proof with evident those link to Maxist or other illegal groups are ready understand the entire book of history. If the objectives is to strengtern the amongst community corhesives and build up the proper culture,no motive to against rulling party, then a fair trial of jugement yet to be seen.

  17. Even if he does not oppose it, TCB could have kept silent on this issue but instead he openly supported the arrests based on his remarks made in the ST. The question of TCB support of the arrests is of huge relevance to the forthcoming elections because one of the custodian powers of the EP concerns the use (or abuse) of the ISA. This was the same act under which the arrests were made.

  18. I dont know much about politics, but I still feel the TCB is ex PAP and they are still friends, so mostly likely will be easily buy over by the PAP, I still think we should not trust him