PAP founding member didn't want Barisan Sosialis secretary-general post

PAP founding member didn't want Barisan Sosialis secretary-general post

SINGAPORE - The late leftist trade unionist and People's Action Party (PAP) founding member Lim Chin Siong did not want to be secretary-general of the Barisan Sosialis, a breakaway left-wing opposition group formed in 1961, according to documents he left behind that have just been published.

He preferred that one of the graduates among the party leaders take the job.

He says this in a set of handwritten answers to a series of questions posed in 1992 for a radio interview which eventually did not take place. It is published for the first time in his younger brother Chin Joo's memoirs, which are launched today.

Mr Lim Chin Siong was first arrested by the Lim Yew Hock colonial government for alleged pro-communist activities with other leftist trade unionists in 1956. He was released in 1959 when the PAP won the elections that year, and formed the government with Mr Lee Kuan Yew as prime minister.

A popular figure in the Chinese community, he says in the newly published notes that from the start, he could not work with Mr Lee, who was PAP secretary-general.

He and 13 other PAP legislative assemblymen broke away to form the Barisan in 1961. He was arrested again in 1963 during the security swoop, Operation Coldstore.

Among other revelations, he said he became disillusioned while in detention after some of his comrades turned against him and the communist underground struck a deal with Mr Lee for a united front to fight the 1959 polls. He died in 1996 at age 62.

His brother Chin Joo said: "I have included his writings in my memoirs because I want people to know his views which I have kept for too long."

This article was first published on July 11, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.