List of Detainees, Singapore


According to Mr. Teo Chee Hean, a total of 2,460 arrests were made from 1959 to 1990, of which 1,045 persons were detained under the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance (1959-1963) and Internal Security Act (1963-1990).

Mr. Teo also added that “many of these individuals and their families have put the past behind them and carried on with their lives over the past several decades.”

Screenshot of Webpage (20 March 2015):


Link: Ministry of Home Affairs

Table 14.1 (page 432) of The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore contains a list of 1,190 names of political detainees in Singapore from 1950-2013.


Edited by Poh Soo Kai, Tan Kok Fang and Hong Lysa; 2013

I have added some pictures of the list here — for the full list, do check out the book (and some other links at the bottom of this post). You can also download a PDF with the list (PDF: List of Political Detainees in Singapore, 1950 – 2013).


Political Detainees in Singapore, 1950-2013 (Numbers 1 to 48); from “The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore (pub. 2013)”


Political Detainees in Singapore, 1950-2013 (Numbers 1181 to 1190); from “The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore (pub. 2013)”

On Page 489 of the book, historian Hong Lysa writes:

“We would thus want to emphasise a simple fact: the government has a duty to make public the names of the political detainees and information about their detention. The people have a right to know!” (– Hong Lysa)

Contrary to Mr. Teo’s statements in the second paragraph, Dr. Poh Soo Kai (Assistant Secretary-General of Barisan Sosialis; imprisoned twice under the ISA for a total of 17 years by Singapore’s PAP government; called LKY a “political pimp” in 1963) said in 2014:

“I have rebutted the High Commissioner’s first response of 18 December 2014. With reference to his second response of 22 January 2015, it would be flogging a dead horse no less for me to reply to his attempt at a ‘holistic’ reading of the archives. Quite clearly he is happy to display his understanding of how he uses historical documents and makes sense (or non-sense) of them.

The High Commissioner would do well to monitor debates in Singapore. Neutral third parties have emerged, with no stakes in the 1963 events except for the truth. Recent articles carried in “The Online Citizen” and “TR Emeritus” continuing series (now 7 parts) have effectively demolished each and every piece of his so-called documentary evidence by simply going through the sources he cited, and showing what they actually said.

I have every confidence that the aspiration for decency and humanity in ordinary Singaporeans will prevail and we will build a society based on solidarity and respect for human rights and democracy. It has been too long overdue!”
(– Dr. Poh Soo Kai)

A Yale-NUS student had this to say in Feb 2015:


[Full article at TR Emeritus]

“The rule of law in Singapore is a mockery, because the ISA, despite all the checks and balances, still allows for the detention of political opponents and social activists without an open trial. . .

[Ho Kwon Ping] does not speak for my generation today.

We will continue to speak out bravely against injustice and the ISA. We won’t forget the sacrifices of leaders and activists in the past. Most importantly, we won’t back down without a fight. Even Malaysia has recently abolished its own ISA. We will work for the day when Singapore abolishes this outdated and brutal piece of colonial history.”
(– Denny, Yale-NUS student)

During an event back in 2012, where over 400 people gathered to mark the 25th anniversary of ISA arrests in 1987-1988:


“People in Singapore are getting concerned [about] a lot of issues that matter to them, and are willing to stand and speak up for these issues…I think we will have a better civil society who will engage the government on issues that will matter to them.”
(– MARUAH president Braema Mathi)

“The turnout is beyond my expectations. I think the young people are the most important in the crowd. The younger ones may not know (about what happened).”
(– Teo Soh Lung, one of the 24 who had been detained)

A modest collection of links is listed below for more information on these (dark) chapters in Singapore’s political history.

Thanks to TR Emeritus reader, Mr. Chong Wen Wah, and TR Emeritus readers’ comments on a TRE post about Ms. Loh Meow Gong, which prompted me to compile some of the info here.

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More Information:

1. Buy the Book: Operation Coldstore (Select Books | Kinokuniya | MPH)
2. Editors of the book (Dr. Poh Soo Kai | Tan Kok Fang | Dr. Hong Lysa)
3. Operation Coldstore (Wikipedia)
4. Operation Coldstore (Singapore Rebel)
5. S/pores (Community of Singapore ‘Home Scholars’)
6. “Which amounts to 80 arrests/year and 35 detentions/year, over a span of 30 years.” (TOC)
7. Function 8
8. That We May Dream Again
10. Reluctance to open official records discredits government’s rebuttal on ISA detainees
11. Detention without trial: Going beyond Coldstore? (Dr. Poh at TOC)
12. Conversation on FB post on political detainees (TR Emeritus)
13. PDF List of Political Detainees (PDF List: 950 – 2013)

Ariffin Sha


I have been reading Singapore-related news on and off, due to my “schedule” for the past few months.

Today I spent some time browsing through 17 year-old Ariffin Sha’s blog posts, which I found well-written, thorough, engaging, and accompanied by good visuals.

It is certainly nice to see younger people with a cognitive interest in socio-political topics.

Here are some of his blog/FB post excerpts — I look forward to future updates! Best wishes to Ariffin with his legal studies too.

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Quotes/Excerpts by ARIFFIN SHA (socio-political blogger)

1) “I still remember learning in the first chapter of my Propaganda Social Studies textbook that one of our Government’s virtue is Meritocracy. Which means that one will progress based on talent and ability instead of wealth. Well, I used to believe in that too until I graduated. Allow me to illustrate to you why Meritocracy in our Education System is nothing but a joke.”
(– Singapore’s Education System is all about the Money)

2) “But what the Mainstream Media (MSM) doesn’t realize is that their efforts of censoring the truth are becoming increasingly futile. Most people I know, get their news from multiple sources of information. All these efforts to hide the truth are simply making them look foolish. The truth can’t never be hidden for long. Dear, MSM, we are no longer your Sheeple!”
(– Mainstream Media: We are not your Sheeple!) / great pictures on this post)

3) From a speech/protest at Hong Lim Park in pictures:


4) “Our former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong once warned the writer Catherine Lim that she ought ‘to join a political party if  she wanted to air political views in public.’ I disagree, we don’t have to be members of Political Parties to be able to air our views and comment on Politics.

I may be too young to vote, but no one is ever too young to make a difference. Students in Singapore are stereotyped to be ‘politically apathetic,’ but a quick look back in history would easily explode that myth.”
(– Youth of Singapore: It’s time to Rise)

5) “Another two Primary School students got air-time and they asked PM Lee about his favourite superhero and being a Prime Minister. At this point of time, I was quite pissed. I don’t know if PM Lee or CNA thought that answering trivial questions from kids would improve the ‘image’ of PM Lee or something, but this definitely did not go down well with those who tuned in looking for hard questions and solid answers from PM Lee. What we got instead were trivial questions and PM Lee talking about Batman, Superman, Tarzan and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (No really, he did speak at length about all four superheros.)”
(– #ASKPMLEE – Comedy Show or a Q&A with our Prime Minister?)

6) “Apart from biased news coverage, the mainstream media has also been found in multiple occasions to have published false reports and engage in character assassinations of opposition figures. . .With incidents like these, it’s no wonder we’re consistently ranked near bottom in press freedom.”
(– The embarrassing state of our mainstream media)

7) “Many of us may only remember [Elizabeth Choy] as a War heroine, but she also made history by being the first Singaporean woman to be elected to the Legislative Council in 1951. She served for a full five-year term. As a member of the Legislative Council, she even represented Singapore at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953.”
(– Elizabeth Choy – Singapore’s War Heroine, Politician and Teacher)

8) “I believe there was a climate of fear in Singapore, and I don’t blame [Singaporeans]. Dissent was clearly not tolerated. Times have changed now. With the internet it’s hard to control.”
(– BBC: Singapore at 50: From swamp to skyscrapers)

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ARIFFIN SHA is a 17 year-old Singaporean socio-political blogger, who’s currently reading Law at the University of London.

Ariffin Sha Online: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Instagram

Balanced, Compassionate and Optimistic Post


Came across this post by socio-political blogger Carlton Tan, who blogs at Asian Correspondent.

I felt it was a balanced, compassionate and optimistic blog post (hence the title of this post). I’ve plucked out a few excerpts which reflect the tone and spirit of the post.

You can check out the original article here.

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Excerpts from With Lee Kuan Yew on life support, what’s next for him and for Singapore? by Carlton Tan:

Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew. Pic: AP.

1) It is no surprise that so controversial a figure should evoke such strong emotions in us. I, too, find myself conflicted. Do I love or hate the man who has brought us such great prosperity but so little liberty?

2) And indeed many of us are drawn, not to his ideology—for he swears by none, save pragmatism—but to his determined, or some might say, cantankerous personality. At the same time, we would do well to remember that Singapore’s success was never the consequence of one man’s actions, not even someone as exceptional as Lee Kuan Yew.

3) Pragmatism does not have to be our guiding principle. Wealth need not be pursued at the cost of liberty or equality. And we need not give opposition parties a free pass simply because they enjoy the good fortune of not being the PAP.

4) We will mourn his passing, and we will celebrate his life; but most importantly, I hope we will be willing to honour him by asking tough questions, making hard choices, and imagining a different Singapore.

Reference: With Lee Kuan Yew on life support, what’s next for him and for Singapore?

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CARLTON TAN views socio-political blogging as his contribution to the conversations of Singaporeans.

Carlton Tan Online: Asian CorrespondentFacebook | Twitter