英国政府在最近已经解禁了有关冷藏行动的机密文件。这些机密文件的解密有助于人们和历史学者检查有关的证据和比照当时的特务部（Special Branch）和内部安全部（Internal Security Department）所做的指责。在它们有关“冷藏行动”的文件里：
“在创建一个现代化的新加坡的主要事件”，历史学家韦杰夫（Geoff Wade）是这么写的：“正当李光耀、联邦和政治部继续催促采取逮捕行动之际，薛尔克继续坚持其观点，表示‘没有可证明颠覆活动的重要新证据让我们持有正 当理由在此时此刻进行逮捕。我们无法提呈具体证据来指控他们正在策划使用暴力。在缺乏颠覆活动的实质证据的情况下进行逮捕，将视为女王陛下政府试图扼杀合 法的反对党。’”（附注：见《新加坡1963年的冷藏行动纪念50周年》第35页）薛尔克的这段讲话是重申他在1962年10月5日的致给殖民地事务大臣 森迪斯的一份秘密信中提出的。这是在‘冷藏行动’执行的4个月前提出的。历史学家韦杰夫进一步指出，‘冷藏行动’‘铲除了将在七个月后举行的大选挑战行动 党的反对党主要领袖’。（附注：见《新加坡1963年的冷藏行动纪念50周年》第53页）
总统先生，您曾经提出‘这个指责是非常严重的’（这是您的原话），需要事实为依据证明内部安全法令是用来对付政治对手的。现在这些证据就提呈到您的前面。 您将要如何处理？在过去几十年，在内部安全法令下被捕数百名的被捕的拘留者及其家属的生活及名誉遭受摧毁。根据2011年9月16日内政部发表的声明，即 便是马来西亚已经废除内部安全法令，新加坡将继续保留这个法令。我要求设立一个独立的调查庭（‘COI’）全面调查所有在内部安全法令下被捕的案件。（陈 如斯关于内部安全法令声明）。
已经超过51年了， 您现在有这个历史机遇去把这个历史纠正过来和团结全国人民。在这些历史证据面前，您是否会抓住这个历史机遇纠正历史的错误或者您将从另一个角度看待这段历 史？实事求是的说，您可能从另一个角度看待这段历史吗？历史将不会善待那些逃避自己的责任和应向人民负责的人，特别是那些高居在这块土地上的人。
1. 本文章是获得《independent compatriot 新愚公》网站的同意翻译陈如斯先生致给新加坡共和国总统陈庆炎博士的信。本信件副本抄送新加坡共和国总理李显龙先生。
Coldstore: with the evidence before you, can you look the other way, Mr President，
Dr Tony Tan,
Republic of Singapore.
cc Prime Minister (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Operation Coldstore: with the evidence before you, can you look the other way, Mr President?
On this day 51 years ago, Operation Coldstore was launched and 133 men and women were subsequently arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act (“ISA”).
A question about the ISA was asked at the TOC TV forum held on 18 August 2011 for all 4 candidates of the 2011 presidential election. You spoke first, followed by me and then the other two. I had said that “the history of the ISA is such that it (ISA) had been used for political purposes”. Even though you already had your chance to speak, you very rudely interjected to say it was “a very serious charge and one must be able to back it up”. The relevant video clip about our verbal exchange is here
No evidence to justify arrests
The British Government had recently declassified documents relating to Operation Coldstore and this has enabled the public and historians to examine the evidence and compare it to claims made by the Special Branch (”SB’) and the Internal Security Department (“ISD”). In his paper “Operation Coldstore: A Key Event in the Creation of Modern Singapore”, historian Geoff Wade wrote: “While Lee, the Federation and the Special Branch continued to push their case for detentions, Selkirk (UK Commissioner in Singapore) continued to affirm that ‘there is no important new evidence of subversive activity on which arrests at this juncture can be justified. We could not substantiate a charge that they are planning to use violence. In the absence of specific evidence of subversion the arrests would be construed as an attempt by HMG to stifle legitimate opposition.’ ” The affirmation by Lord Selkirk came in a secret memorandum that he sent to Duncan Sandys, secretary of state for the colonies, dated 5 October 1962, less than 4 months before Operation Coldstore was finally launched. Historian Wade wrote further that Operation Coldstore “removed the key opposition leaders challenging the PAP in the general election which was to be held seven months later”.
Another historian, Singaporean Dr Thum Ping Tjin also cited declassified British documents in his speech at the 16 November 2013 launch of the book “The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore, Commemorating 50 years”. He quoted an ISD statement dated 23 September 2011 which claimed that the detainees were “not detained for their political beliefs but because they had involved themselves in subversive activities which posed a threat to national security”. But referring to the declassified papers, Dr Thum declared “the SB and ISD did not (and) does not have any evidence that the Operation Coldstore detainees were engaged in any Communist conspiracy”. A video recording of Dr Thum’s speech is at
Commission of Inquiry
Mr President, you have asked for evidence to back up “the very serious charge” (your words) that the ISA had been used on political opponents. The evidence is now before you. What are you going to do about it? Over the years, arrests under the ISA have destroyed the lives and reputations of hundreds of detainees and their families. Following the Ministry of Home Affairs’ announcement on 16 September 2011 that it would keep the ISA even though Malaysia had said the day before that it would repeal the Act, I had urged that an independent Commission of Inquiry (“COI”) be set up to look into all cases of arrests under the ISA. (TJS’ statement on
As I had said then, the objective is to seek truth and reconciliation rather than to punish those who were responsible for the ISA detentions. This will allow the innocent to get on with their lives. Such reconciliation effort will close the sad ISA chapter of our history and help integrate those affected into the mainstream of society and thus bring about a unified nation. Isn’t national unity what you set out to promote and achieve in seeking the Office of the President? I would urge you to use your good office to ask the Prime Minister to convene the COI. Mr Goh Chok Tong had promised to set up a COI to look into the detentions of the 22 alleged Marxists in 1987. But that promise was not kept.
Historic opportunity to do right
If the Prime Minister refuses to set up a COI or procrastinates, I would urge you to seriously examine whether you have the constitutional authority to convene a presidential COI by virtue of the powers vested in you to review and veto ISA arrests. If so, you should do it. If not, you should use your moral authority to do so. After more than 51 years, you now have the historic opportunity to put things right and unify the nation. With the evidence before you, will you seize the opportunity to do right or will you look the other way? Indeed, can you look the other way? History will not be kind to those who shirk their duties and responsibilities to the nation especially when they occupy the highest seat in the land。
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.