2004-02-23 23:41:09 UTC
Democracy has won - let communists return to see that
THE Government's current position on when to permit former commu-nists to
return to Singapore would have been understandable 30 years ago.
Memories of the commu-nist insurgency were still fresh, democracy had not
yet taken root and the population was not well educated.
To still insist today, however, that former commu-nists fulfil three
conditions - that they make a written declaration renouncing communism,
sever links with the Communist Party of Malaya and agree to be interviewed
by the Internal Security Department - before being allowed to come home
seems unnecessary ('Plen's men can return, on 3 conditions'; ST, Feb 12).
Democracy has come a long way in Singapore. Since independence, we have had
nearly 40 years of free and fair elections resulting in clean, accountable
and efficient governments. The democratic system is well-entrenched and
trusted by all Singaporeans.
As a people, Singaporeans have also become highly educated and
Singaporeans know that democracy is the best form of government and that,
politically, it is the only way forward for us.
Communism, on the other hand, has generally died a natural death in most
parts of the world. With the fall of the Soviet regime and the Berlin Wall
and the adoption of capitalist policies in China, people everywhere have
recognised that the ideals of Marx and Lenin are not practicable in the real
Moreover, democracies in many parts of Europe, from Britain to Austria, have
allowed communists to contest in elections as political parties and they
have, by and large, been unpopular.
It is time the Government showed more confidence in Singaporeans by allowing
the communists to come home unconditionally. Let them return to experience,
first-hand, how successful democracy has made Singapore and how much we
believe in it.
And even if we fail to convince them, they will nevertheless discover how
much Singaporeans reject their totalitarian beliefs. Let them find out for
themselves that freedom and choice will always triumph over oppression and
ELGIN TOH MINGYANG