Political exiles must meet terms to return

Those who are in self-imposed exile overseas and wish to return to Singapore can do so, but have to meet certain conditions, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu told Parliament.

"For example, those who were involved, associated, with the violent Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) would have to sever ties with the CPM, renounce violence and be interviewed by the security agencies," she said.

"These conditions are not new or unreasonably onerous," Ms Fu added, noting that many former CPM members had accepted them and gone on to resettle in Singapore with their families.

Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam said barriers should be lifted "to allow Singaporeans who have been away for more than 30 years, including political exiles and their families, to return home despite their different ideological positions".

"Their feelings for Singapore are intense and heartfelt, albeit ambivalent", even after a long time away, she said.

"This is also a way of bringing back talents to serve the country."

Replying, Ms Fu said some of those abroad had outstanding offences that they have to resolve: "They cannot be expected to be placed above the law."

This article was first published on March 11, 2015.
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