Saturday, 30 August 2014

Sahabat Rakyat explains the reason of publishing (Fragments of Lim Chin Siong’s Q&A Posthumous Manuscript) and seeks Mr. Lim Chin Joo’s kind understanding

Sahabat Rakyat explains the reason of publishing 
Fragments of Lim Chin Siong’s Q&A Posthumous Manuscript
and seeks Mr. Lim Chin Joo’s kind understanding

Translated by Ang Pei Shan

[Text below (including the reply to Lim Chin Joo's entrusted lawyer) is translated from original version in the Chinese language. In the case of any discrepancy between the English rendition and the original Chinese version, the Chinese version shall prevail.]


清水长流,那年代曾经沧海;
祥气恒芳,上世纪留下遗稿。

Anak sungai mengalir tidak berhenti,
sebati lautan perjuangan massa;
Manuskrip tinggalan harum abadi,
menjadi warisan rakyat semua bangsa.

Lim Chin Joo and his new book entitled "My Youth in Black and White"
"Lim Chin Joo, the incumbent vice president of the Ee Hoe Hean Club, is often being teased for turning from the proletariat into the leader of rich men's club. During his book launch, he expressed that he does not care about the comments. 'I have no control over how others look at Lim Chin Joo, how I look at myself is of the utmost importance'", he said.
Source of quotation (in Chinese Language) : www.redotnews.com/news/show/49649.html

On 2 Aug, Sahabat Rakyat’s blog published Fragments of Lim Chin Siong’s Q&A Posthumous Manuscript, together with an Editor’s Note and six pieces of corresponding illustrations and captions. On 8 Aug, Sahabat Rakyat received an email from a Singapore law firm entrusted by Lim Chin Joo  (containing a copy of scanned letter regarding copyrights of Lim Chin Siong’s posthumous manuscript, see Appendix at the end of this text), requested our blog to cease and desist the unlawful copying of the articleFragments of Lim Chin Siong’s Q&A Posthumous Manuscript and illustrations, and to provide written assurance within ten days that we will cease and desist from further infringement of its clients' copyrighted works, otherwise it shall instruct its Malaysian associate to take necessary legal action against us.

According to some Singaporean friends, there is a message spreading within the leftist circle in Singapore, i.e. “Lim Chin Joo had issued a solicitor letter suing Sahabat Rakyat’s infringement on his copyrighted works”. A couple of our working committee members have also received some queries such as “what is Lim Chin Joo’s rationale behind his legal action?", “why is Lim Chin Joo doing so?”, “how will Sahabat Rakyat react to it?” etc.

Although we have not yet received the “registered post” issued by the law firm entrusted by Lim Chin Joo, Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee is of the view that we shall respond within the time frame stated in the solicitor’s letter. This is because Sahabat Rakyat, a non-profit NGO based in Malaysia struggling for democracy, human rights and social reform in and outside Malaysia is very concerned about the historical fact that the late Lim Chin Siong, a prominent leader in 1950s to 1960s who led the people of Malaya (including Singapore) in the anti-colonial struggle against British colonists and the struggle for democracy and human rights via constitutional approach, was then betrayed and destroyed by his comrade, Lee Kuan Yew who burned the bridge after crossing it upon seizing the ruling power. We very much treasure the reflections left by this outstanding leader in the early 1990s after enduring decades of political suppression by Lee Kuan Yew.

Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee, in our reply to Lim Chin Joo’s entrusted lawyer explained why we published Fragments of Lim Chin Siong’s Q&A Posthumous Manuscript. Apart from expressing our huge apologies for not contacting Lim Chin Joo and seeking for his consent in advance, we look forward for Lim Chin Joo’s kind understanding and consent on the just action of Sahabat Rakyat so that Lim Chin Siong’s posthumous manuscript will disseminate even wider, and Lim Chin Siong’s experience and views will be spread quicker, to help the development of the democratic and human rights movement (especially on constitutional reform struggle) in Malaysia and Singapore.

Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee replied Lim Chin Joo’s entrusted lawyer in the Chinese language due to the following considerations:

(i) The Chinese language is one of Singapore’s official languages, it is also the language that we (Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee members) best master, thus we have no reason to reply in English;

(ii) We should reply the English letter in Chinese or Malay language, to reflect our position in upholding the equality of languages of different ethnic communities.


Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee replied on 17 August

Below is the full text of Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee’s reply to the lawyer entrusted by Lim Chin Joo dated 17 Aug:

To : Lawyer entrusted by Mr Lim Chin Joo
Selvam LLC Advocates and Solicitors Firm, Singapore

Ref : Publishing “Fragments of Lim Chin Siong’s Q&A Posthumous Manuscript ” at Sahabat Rakyat’s Blog (Your letter dated 7 Aug 2014, reference number: UNG/kt)

Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee was founded to promote democracy and human rights movement in Malaysia and abroad. Its committee members are all unpaid volunteers. Sahabat Rakyat’s blog serves the similar goals by disseminating information and views for the progress of democracy and human rights in Malaysia and abroad.

The late Lim Chin Siong was a prominent leader in 1950s to 1960s who led the people of Malaya (including Singapore) in the anti-colonial struggle against British colonists and the struggle for democracy and human rights via constitutional approach. However, he was sadly betrayed and destroyed by Lee Kuan Yew who rode the wave of anti-colonial movements and rose to power, and burn the bridge after crossing it. After enduring decades of political suppression, mentally and physically, he left some reflections in the early 1990s on his personal confession of the history of the constitutional struggles he had once led. His posthumous manuscript is the ‘heritage’ he left for the democratic and human rights movement of the people of Singapore, Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah.

To serve as useful references and motivations to the participants of anti-colonial struggle in the abovementioned historical period, and to the present and coming generation who move the democracy and human rights movement, on 2 Aug, we published on our blog, Fragments of Lim Chin Siong’s Q&A Posthumous Manuscript, Appendix II of a recent book of Lim Chin Joo, together with our editor’s note, six illustrations and captions.

Besides, as stated clearly in our editor’s note, Sahabat Rakyat’s blog publishing Fragments of Lim Chin Siong’s Q&A Posthumous Manuscript is considered a decision entrusted by the “pioneer generation” in Singapore who are oppressed by the ruling power. This is a special gift for the Singaporeans, in commemoration of the 49th anniversary of Singapore, allowing them to ponder and think deeply about the implicit meaning of “People’s Action Party will have not existed if there was not a Malayan Democratic Alliance” in the end of Lim Chin Siong’s article.

The editorial board received the electronic copy of the article in the end of July. The editorial board was then rushing for the editor’s note, illustrations and captions in order to publish it as a gift for the 49th national day of Singapore. However, we have overlooked the need to obtain a prior consent from Lim Chin Joo and straight away published it on 2 August (i.e. a weekend prior to Singapore National Day). Our working committee is regret of any offense and trouble that might be caused by our editorial board, and are would like to offer our apology.

Furthermore, Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee hereby officially seek Mr. Lim Chin Joo’s consent to publish Fragments of Lim Chin Siong’s Q&A Posthumous Manuscript at our blog, for the sake of the public from all walks of life and scholars of different countries who are keen to understand the truth of the anti-colonisation struggle history in Malaya and Singapore. Our committee is not gaining any benefit from disseminating Lim Chin Siong’s posthumous manuscript and we believe it will not infringe on Mr Lim Chin Joo’s interest either. In fact, this will only propagate lessons learned and ideas of the late Lim Chin Siong to enhance the development of the democratic and human rights movement (particularly on the constitutional reform struggle) of Singapore and Malaya. Thus we look forward to Mr. Lim Chin Joo’s understanding and approval.

Thank you for your attention.

Choo Shinn Chei
Presidium member of Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee
17 Aug 2014


The valuable opinions from committee member Nyam Kee Han

Nyam Kee Han, who has just completed his master’s degree studies in anthropology and sociology, is temporarily teaching in a Chinese secondary independent school. He expressed the following valuable opinions regarding the incident of Lim Chin Joo entrusted lawyer instructing our committee to remove the post of Fragments of Lim Chin Siong’s Q&A Posthumous Manuscript via email a few days back. His opinions represent the thoughts of almost all the young committee members graduated from University of Technology Malaysia, and were agreed by the elderlies in our committee.

1) The late Lim Chin Siong dedicated his precious life to the national democratic movement of Malaya (including Singapore) in 1950-60s, he is a prominent leader who served the people wholeheartedly. Therefore, Lim Chin Siong’s posthumous manuscript should be the ‘heritage’ of all Malayans (Malaysians) and even all human beings around the world. Lim Chin Siong passed away on 5 Feb 1996, I could hardly understand why his manuscript was only released to the public 18 years later and why it is just part of it? I personally think that if Lim’s full posthumous manuscript was published shortly after his death, his views concluded from the historical experience of anti-colonial struggle of Malayans and Singaporeans and from his personal experience shall have more significant and beneficial implications towards the democratic and human rights movement of the Malayans (Malaysians) resisting UMNO’s hegemonistic rule and Singaporeans resisting Peoples’ Action Party (PAP)’s hegemonistic rule.

(2) Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) and Singapore leftist movements were severely undermined in the 1960s, it started to decline in the 1970s, and extinct in late 1980s. Since ‘reformasi’ movement and “political storm of 308 demanding for reform” emerged in peninsular Malaya, a lot of youths around the country, including Chinese, Malays and Indians were so engrossed in promoting democratic and human rights movement.

However, I think that many people in the country, especially the 1980s-born youths like me, still have very limited knowledge about the leftist movement of Malaya (including Singapore) in the 1950s and the 60s. Fragments of Lim Chin Siong’s Q&A Posthumous Manuscript is certainly a very precious piece of historical information and a very convincing educational material for the people of all ethnicities especially for the young generation.

(3) I personally think that Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee’s reply to Lim Chin Joo-entrusted lawyer and other corresponding documents in future should be translated into Malay or English, and uploaded to our blog as well as disseminating it widely via media whenever appropriate, so that non-Chinese and non-Chinese educated public, democratic parties and organisations as well as democrats in Singapore and Malaysia, especially youths who do not understand the Chinese language and indulged in democratic and human rights movement, can also understand the truth of the problem and the development of the incident, and support our just action in publishing Lim Chin Siong’s posthumous manuscript. As long as we insist in doing so, more people will learn the experience and lessons from the late Lim Chin Siong in near future, and hence understand the essence of party politics and constitutional struggle. This is what our goal of ‘trans-racial’ struggle that is pursued by democratic parties and organisations in Malaysia.


Copy of the letter issued by Lim Chin Joo’s entrusted lawyer

Appendix : 2-page copy of the solicitor's letter dated 8 Aug issued by Selvam LLC Advocates and Solicitors Firm entrusted by Lim Chin Joo.



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