23 February 2015
A new book on the 1963 Operation Coldstore debunks attempts by revisionist writers to portray the operation as driven by political motives rather than security grounds.
Fifty-two years ago this month, on 2 February 1963, a historic internal security dragnet known as Operation Coldstore was conducted in Singapore. Mainstream accounts record that the sweep, authorised by the Internal Security Council comprising British, Singaporean and Malayan governmental representatives, approved the detention – under the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance (PPSO) – of ultimately 130 leftwing politicians, unionists, and other activists – that basically destroyed the Communist United Front in Singapore.
This development helped pave the way for Singapore’s political union or merger with the Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia, in September that year. Coldstore was hence a defining moment in Singapore’s history. It is thus counterintuitive that a recent Institute of Policy Studies survey found that a paltry 16.6 percent of a sample of 1,516 Singaporeans were even aware of the operation.
…Kumar Ramakrishna is Associate Professor and Head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. His book, Original Sin? Revising the Revisionist Critique of the 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore will shortly be published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
CENS / GPO / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 24/02/2015