Historian Thum Ping Tjin on Monday (Sep 3), rejected the notion that he is a traitor.
He was responding to criticism by netizens, over his meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad last Thursday (Aug 30).
Thum’s response comes on the back of a Facebook post made by Member of Parliament (MP) Seah Kian Peng, who on Saturday (Sep 1) questioned the historian’s reasoning to invite PM Mahathir to Singapore to ‘bring democracy’.
He was also rebuked by online vigilantes SMRT Feedback by The Vigilanteh who brought to light several incriminating Facebook postings by Thum published between 2013 and 2017 that contrasted with his latest statement.
Thum had lamented that Singapore’s independence day August 31 was “illegal”, and had at one point wished that Singapore rejoined the Federation of Malaysia.
Thum went further by saying that Zubir Said, the composer for Singapore’s national anthem, “reflects the soul of Malaya”.
MP Seah also took issue with Thum’ post published on Friday (Aug 31), which suggested that Singaporeans should also celebrate Malaysia’s independence day.
MP Seah said, “PJ Thum went further the next day. On August 31, Malaysia’s “national day”, he posted an unusual greeting, “Selamat Hari Merdeka to the people of the former Federation of Malaya”, and suggested that Singaporeans should also rejoice on that day since it was Singapore’s “unofficial independence day”.
Freelance blogger Kirsten Han however, rejected MP Seah’s comments, insisting that Thum’s post was made in the context of a historical fact, and that Thum referred to Singaporeans celebrating their independence from British colonialism, instead of proclaiming that Singapore is part of Malaysia.
Han said, “Lee Kuan Yew himself declared de facto independence on 31 August 1963; this is clearly documented and easily Googled on NLB’s HistorySG site.
Han’s clarification was shot down by SMRT Feedback, who accused her of “spreading misinformation by being intellectually dishonest.”
The vigilantes pointed out that in the de-facto independence declaration on August 31, 1965, the late Lee Kuan Yew “pledged Singapore’s loyalty to the federal government in Kuala Lumpur”. SMRT Feedback inferred that the underlying meaning from Thum’s post could not have been independence from British colonialism, but rather Singapore’s membership into the Federation of Malaysia.
Neither Thum nor Han has so far responded to the vigilantes.
Netizens are already denouncing Thum as a traitor, but perhaps we should wait for further clarification from the activists.