Dr Poh Soo Kai rebutted a strange fiction by Mr Burhan Gafoor, High Commissioner to Australia and The Straits Times of 19 Dec 2014 at page 358 of his autobiography “LIVING IN A TIME OF DECEPTION”:
“This whole story is pure fabrication. There was never a trip to Masai with Grace and Raman. And it was a tale very sloppily told at that. … ”
And at page 361: “Grace told me that she was interrogated for very long periods of time into the night in a very cold room by teams of ISD officers. They were rough and intimidating, shouting at her to get information about her alleged trip to Masai. She told them not to waste their time investigating fictitious cases as she had never been to Masai. Instead, they should spend their time investigating Lee Kuan Yew’s younger brother, Assistant Superintendent of Police Freddy Lee, regarding his connections with the chap ji ki (a private lottery outlawed by the government) syndicate.”
The confession was obtained from G Raman when he was arrested under the ISA and tortured in 1977. The ISD could not find any evidence of Dr Poh Soo Kai’s treatment of the “injured bomber” and extracted a confession from Raman under duress and torture. Dr Poh himself was already in prison under the ISA when Raman was arrested. He never went to Masai and the ISD knew this for they had seen his passport.
Gafoor perhaps was not aware that Raman retracted his confession subsequently. In parliament, the Minister for Home Affairs and Education Mr Chua Sian Chin responding to a question as to why Raman was still in detention despite his confession said that he had retracted a portion of his testimony. Indeed, Raman realising the gravity and injustice he did to Dr Poh, made a sworn statement denying that Dr Poh went to Masai to treat the “injured bomber”. This is reported in The Straits Times of 13 Sept 1977.
Dr Chia Thye Poh received the award in 2013 in KL. He was always a top student in school. As a Barisan Sosialis assemblyman, he was arrested for protesting against the Vietnam War in 1966 and imprisoned without trial for 32 years. There was no reason for arresting him except to put away an opposition member who may inspire other people to oppose the policies of the PAP. With his arrest, Singapore became a one party state for the next 16 years. The monopoly was only broken with the election of JB Jeyaretnam in 1981.
“I kept telling them, ‘If you say I am guilty of something, let me defend myself in court,’ ” Chia said. “Of course, I never could because of the notorious Internal Security Act. Until it is repealed, we can never have a truly civil or just society.”
Chia Thye Poh was imprisoned for 26 years and another 6 years under severe restrictions. He and many others represent what detention without trial under the ISA is all about.
Speaking at the 50th Anniversary of Operation Coldstore at Hong Lim Park on 2 February 2013. Dr Poh Soo Kai said:
“Fifty years after Operation Coldstore is certainly not too soon a time for us to speak about our understanding of our imprisonment. I maintain that I was imprisoned for being part of a slate of left-wing anti colonialists who were going to pose a challenge to Lee Kuan Yew in the election of 1963. The charge of communism and subversion, used to framed people like me, has simply been chanted repeatedly to this day. Our rejection of the charge has been ignored outright, without any attempt to supply evidence or specific details which we could answer. But answer we must. I particularly feel it is a duty I owe to all my friends who have passed on. I owe a duty to all of them to describe the conditions of our time, the struggle we were engaged in, the consequences that befell us because we were in it all together”.