The Communist Paradox

The Communist Paradox

Mr Lee Kuan Yew's 8th radio broadcast on Sept 29, 1961, was titled The Communist Paradox. This is an excerpt of it from the book, The Battle For Merger:

"I want to explain this paradox, that the communists prefer Singapore still under British control but with the Internal Security Council abolished, to a Singapore independent with the rest of Malaya.

The most important reason why the communists prefer a Singapore still under British control to a Singapore as part of Malaya, is that with the British in control, their struggle for a communist Malaya can be camouflaged as an anti-colonial struggle.

But if they continue their struggle in a Singapore which is independent with the rest of Malaya, it is quite clearly a struggle not against colonialism, but against an independent elected government. Their object will then be obvious, that is to destroy an independent national government and to set up a communist government.

Moreover, when they are dealt with by the government, as they have been from time to time, it is far better for them to have a British colonial government take action against them than an independent elected Malayan government.

To be imprisoned by the British colonialists is to be a martyr, in the company of (India's) Mr (Jawaharlal) Nehru, (Ghana's) Dr (Kwame) Nkrumah, (Malawi's) Dr (Hastings Kamuzu) Banda and many other anti-colonial nationalists.

But to be locked up by Mr Nehru, Dr Nkrumah or (Egypt's) Colonel (Gamal Abdel) Nasser or the Tungku (Abdul Rahman of Malaysia) is an entirely different matter.

Mr Nehru, Dr Nkrumah, Col Nasser and the Tungku do not lock up nationalists, who are the real anti-colonialists. In fact, they welcome anti-colonial fighters who are nationalists to their ranks.

It is only those who are out to destroy the independence won by the nationalists and to supplant it with a totalitarian or communist government who are locked up by nationalist leaders like Nehru, Nkrumah, Nasser and the Tungku.

There is this added consideration.

If a communist is detained by the British, questions can be asked in the House of Commons in England, resolutions passed in anti-colonial conferences all over the world and speeches made by friendly delegates in the United Nations.

But if a communist is locked up by an independent nationalist government, there cannot be much noise or propaganda made out of it either here in Malaya, or in London, or in the United Nations, or in Belgrade and the other meeting places of the Afro-Asian nations. The Afro-Asian nations are concerned with protecting nationalists and not communists."

This article was first published on Oct 11, 2014.
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