Marker dedicated to those involved in fight against Communism unveiled at Esplanade Park

Former President S R Nathan (third from left), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean (centre in white shirt), and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong (right) with people who have lived through the fight
Former President S R Nathan (third from left), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean (centre in white shirt), and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong (right) with people who have lived through the fight with communism and their families. ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG

SINGAPORE - A marker to remember Singapore's struggle against Communism was unveiled on Monday by former President S R Nathan.

Dedicated to the 8,000 people who were killed or wounded in Malaysia and Singapore and to those who fought for a democratic and non-communist Singapore, the granite-and-steel marker stands at the Esplanade Park along Queen Elizabeth Walk, next to the Tan Kim Seng fountain, Lim Bo Seng Memorial and a stone's throw away from the Cenotaph.

December marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the 1989 Haadyai Peace Agreements between the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and the governments of Malaysia and Thailand.

 

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The agreements marked the end of the CPM's four-decade campaign of violence and subversion.

The ceremony on Monday was attended by survivors of the communist-instigated violence of the era such as Singaporean Simon Barter, 86, who was nearly shot and killed by a communist gunman in October 1951.

Mr Barter, a former clerical officer for the British government, said he survived because the gunman's pistol misfired. He suspected that the attack was carried out in retaliation because he helped arrest a communist arsonist.

Also at the ceremony were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, and Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.

Mr Wong said in Parliament last month that the marker on the fight against Communism came from feedback received in recent months from retired police officers.

Recalling the incidents of Communist violence, assassinations, student demonstrations and labour strikes, they asked for recognition for the people who stood up to the Communists.

He also said that besides the marker, a memorial to the victims of Konfrontasi will be unveiled at the Dhoby Ghaut Lawn - across from MacDonald House next year.

Konfrontasi spanned three years, from 1963 to 1966. It was an armed conflict started by Indonesian President Sukarno to oppose the newly formed Malaysia, which Singapore was then a part of.

yanliang@sph.com.sg