Episode 44: Operation Coldstore, Part II: The Blame Game
Dr. Thum Ping Tjin, University of Oxford
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The British, Federation, and PAP leaders agreed that Singapore’s political opposition would be arrested, despite the lack of evidence of any wrongdoing, before merger took place. But the issues of who to arrest, when to arrest them, and most of all, who would take the blame for the arrests, would prove so contentious that it would nearly torpedo merger. Lee Kuan Yew, in particular, sought to manipulate the arrests for maximum political gain, to the anger and frustration of his allies inside and outside Singapore. In this episode, PJ Thum describes the endless rounds of arguing, haggling, and brinkmanship that characterised the final negotiations over Coldstore.
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