Transcript: Interview between ABC's Katherine McGrath and Tang Liang Hong on PM (a current affairs radio program). Wednesday April 9, 1997.
Well, the battle between the government of Singapore and opposition figure Tang Liang Hong has been brought to Australia. Over the last few days in Melbourne two key figures in Singapore's opposition movement have met to hold top secret talks aimed at establishing an informal opposition movement in exile.
Mr Tang is currently facing 13 defamation suits by government leaders in Singapore and he's come to Australia to look for support for his case and to try to form a coordinated opposition voice. Katherine McGrath reports:
McGrath: Singapore's opposition has never been well organised but this week in Melbourne that has began to change. Tang Liang Hong, facing 13 defamation suits, in the island state and currently in self imposed exile flew to Australia from Hong Kong over the weekend.
Mr Tang is Singapore's public enemy number one. During the election campaign he called the country's leaders "liars" and the massive legal assault followed. There is perhaps only one person the government of Singapore hates more than TLH and that's Francis Seow.
Mr Seow was once the solicitor general in the island state. But he turned critic and was imprisoned under the Internal Security Act in 1988. Later that same year he fled to the US .
Over the past few days Mr Tang and Mr Seow have been talking. And the venue for their discussion has been Melbourne. Mr Tang said he's been wanting to talk to Mr Seow for some time.
Tang: He has been in various parts of the world and he's also one of the victims of the PAP policy. And I also want to know his experience and try to get some advice from him over aspects of the matter.
McGarth: And do you think that you and he together might forge some sort of alliance that could then continue to fight the Singaporean government?
Tang: Well, I believe I and Francis Seow have a lot of ideas in common. I believe that there are many other Singaporeans who are also interested in the subject matter. So, we get a few friends -- ex-Singaporeans, now they are in exile overseas -- so I can gather a few of them and try to talk things over and see what are the things that we can do for Singapore.
McGrath: Over the last few days, Francis Seow and Tang Liang Hong have deen doing a lot of talking. They have been meeting with other Australian based Singaporeans and although it's too early to say that an opposition-in-exile is about to be formed, the first steps are certainly on the way.
Program host: Katherine McGrath in Singapore.