May 9 polls prove change is possible for Singapore too, says exile

Danial Dzulkifly
Tan Wah Piow speaks to reporters after meeting Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya August 30, 2018. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 30 — Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) win in the May 9 polls has strengthened Singaporean exile Tan Wah Piow’s belief that a change in government can happen in his homeland through the ballot box.

“Malaysians have shone a light to Singaporeans, that change is possible, that change is not frightening, and any kind of narrative that a change of government will lead to racial riots is wiped out,” said Tan.

The lawyer was speaking to the media after meeting Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Perdana Leadership Foundation today, together with historian Thum Ping Tjin and activist Hishamuddin Rais, among others.

Tan was exiled from Singapore in 1976 after he was convicted and sentenced to one year's imprisonment for instigating workers of a company, American Marine (Singapore), against their employers.

He was also accused by the Singapore government of plotting to overthrow it to form a Marxist state.

Thum, an outspoken figure in Singapore, also agreed with Tan and said that the Malaysian template can be used to help other South-east Asian nations.

Activist Hishamuddin, who was also present during the meeting, said among the issues discussed with Dr Mahathir was how Malaysians can defend their newfound democratic freedom.

“We also discussed with Tun (Dr Mahathir) how can we help defend our victory, a victory that the people had fought so hard to gain,” he said.

Hishamuddin, Tan and Thum explained that they are part of a group called the Forces of Renewal for South-east Asia.

The group intends to host a forum to discuss democratic means to help South-east Asian nations next year and has invited Dr Mahathir as a keynote guest.

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