By Teo Soh Lung
Wong Soon Fong, former elected PAP legislative assemblyman died on 1 December in Thailand. He was 81.
Wong joined the PAP in 1956 and was elected as a City Councillor in the same year. He left the PAP to join the Barisan Sosialis in 1961.
On 2 Feb 1963 when Operation Coldstore saw the arrest of more than 133 members of the opposition parties, trade unionists, students and others who posed a threat to the survival of the PAP, Wong together with five other legislative assembly members, Chan Sun Wing, Leong Kling Seng, Peter Lau Por Tak, Ong Chang Sam and ST Bani were not arrested even though they were on the Special Branch list. The Internal Security Council refused to approve their arrests. However, Wong escaped to Indonesia. He left his wife and daughter in Singapore. He never expected to be exiled for more than half a century.
Wong Soon Fong had always wanted to return to Singapore. But he refused to sign a “security statement” as a condition for his return. Such a statement would require him to renounce communism. Wong had always maintained that he was involved in politics, first as a PAP member, city councillor and PAP legislative assemblyman and then as a member of the Barisan Sosialis. It was because he was forced to escape Singapore, that compelled him to join the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM).
In Eastern Europe, communism collapsed in the late 1980s. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was time to welcome peace, regardless of political beliefs. Thailand, Malaysia and the CPM signed the Hat Yai Peace Agreement on 2 Dec 1989. Hundreds of Malaysians were allowed to return home. Singapore however refused to be a signatory to the agreement and that prevented 26 Singaporeans from returning home.
The Thai government granted citizenship to these 26 Singaporeans, including Wong and gave them the land upon which they lived on as CPM members. The Thai government also built houses for them and gave them money to start life as farmers. They grew rubber trees and planted crops. Princess Chulaphorn became the patron of the village which is called Chulaphorn Peace Village.
Today marks the 26th anniversary of the Hat Yai Peace Agreement.
No thanks to the Singapore government which will continue to deprive Singaporeans of their right to return home without conditions. I am told that the Singapore government would not even allow their ashes to be buried in Singapore. This, according to a source, had happened to a CPM member who died in Thailand.
I don’t know if the government would take a similar stand with regard to the ashes of Wong Soon Fong. He supported the PAP and was elected as PAP assemblyman and city councillor. He had contributed to the achievements of the PAP and to Singapore. The family may wish to apply to the relevant authority for his ashes to be flown home. If permission is not granted, then the Singapore government can pride itself as being afraid of the dead . If permission is given, may Wong Soon Fong find peace in his beloved Singapore.
Related web site:
1.Chulaphorn Peace Village
在1963年2月2日的“冷藏行动”时，眼见超过133名反对党、职工会成员、学生和其他被视为威胁人民行动党生存的人被捕，黄信芳与其他5位被捕的立法议会议员陈新荣（Chan Sun Wing）、梁景胜（ Leong Kling Seng）、刘波德（ Peter Lau Por Tak）、王清杉 （Ong Chang Sam）和S.T.巴尼（ ST Bani）当时以为自己的名字已经在政治部的逮捕名单上了。当时，当时内部安全委员会不批准对他们的逮捕。无论如何，黄信芳离开了自己的妻子和女儿被迫逃亡到印度尼西亚。这一走就是超过半个世纪。这是他自己未曾想到的。