10 December 2014
In February, the 51st anniversary of Operation Coldstore — the historic internal security dragnet mounted by the British, Singaporean and Malayan governments against the Communist United Front (CUF) in Singapore on Feb 2, 1963 — took place and social media was abuzz with debate, revisiting the merits or otherwise of the operation.
Revisionist commentators cast doubt on the potency and even existence of such a Communist network, arguing that Coldstore was in fact a political exercise to stamp out a Progressive Left opposition — exemplified by the Barisan Sosialis political party — committed to constitutional means of securing power.
Mainstream commentators, on the other hand, countered that the Communist Front, which included the Barisan, was no imaginary beast and without Coldstore, the Communists could have possibly swept all before them in Singapore. This would have raised the spectre of conflict between a staunchly anti-Communist, Malay-dominated Federation and a Communist, Chinese-dominated Singapore.
…Kumar Ramakrishna is associate professor and head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. His new book on Operation Coldstore will be published early next year.
CENS / GPO / RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 10/12/2014