Human Rights Activist Kirsten Han Accuses Workers Party Of Complicity In Smear Campaign Against Alternative Historian Thum Ping Tjin

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Human rights activist Kirsten Han made an impassioned criticism of Pritam Singh and the Worker’s Party after the Select Committe’s unanimous decision to disregard alternative historian Thum Ping Tjin’s public hearing.  Ms Han accused the Worker’s Party of agreeing and endorsing the way the Select Committee had singled out Thum Ping Tjin and attacked his character.

She asked that since the Workers Party (WP) agreed with all the Select Committee’s decisions, was it still the best Opposition party to check on the PAP government and should she even have confidence in the WP’s ability when they were complicit in a smear campaign against her friend and alternative history academic Thum Ping Tjin.


Having participated in this Select Committee process and agreed with all its decisions, is the WP still in a good position to slap the driver if/when it comes to that? How much confidence should I have in the WP, when I already see it complicit in a smear campaign?


Responding to Kirsten Han’s staunch criticism, this was what Workers Party Secretary-General Pritam Singh had to say:

Dear Kirsten – in my mind, the issues the Select Committee raises are much more significant that PJ. I cannot say anything on the deliberations in Committee on the matter as those are confidential and I will be in breach of Parliamentary rules if I did. So let me leave it at that.

On falsehoods and definitions, my own view is that Claire Wardle’s written representation to the Select Committee provides a very helpful overview of the spectrum of issues we are dealing with. However, I would say that when the legislation is tabled, the Government will have to identify how the calibrated approach would work in practice because each situation will differ. Then we vote on it. If we are not persuaded by the Government’s bill – we vote against it.

Rambunctious democracies like India already take down even private communication thru WhatsApp when the situation calls for it.

On your more general point about the WP, my colleagues and I are in politics for a better Singapore and better outcomes for Singaporeans. As Anwar Ibrahim himself said yesterday I think, the political situation in Singapore and Malaysia is very different. It follows then that the WP’s approach to politics in Singapore must take into account our specific political culture. Singaporeans want an opposition but they are very discerning in the type of opposition they seek. In my view, it is not wise to pursue any approach that does not establish firmer foundations for a permanent and institutionalised opposition in Singapore.


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