What Tan did in Singapore 30 years ago was not and could not be the reason for the Sarawak state government’s human rights violation and breach of the rule of law in deporting Tan from Sarawak on January 6 this year and banning him from re-entry after 23 years making Miri his home.
However, to ensure that George Chan does not use Tan’s past activities in Singapore 30 years ago to give the impression that they are part and parcel of the reasons for his deportation and ban, the full facts of Tan’s trade union activities in Singapore resulting in his detention under the Internal Security Act by the Singapore government and ban from entering the island republic should be made public.
Tan Seng Hin was Tan Sin who at 25 was the President of the Singapore Commercial Houses and Factory Employees Union in 1965 and the No. 1 leader of the left-wing trade union movement in Singapore at the time.
Dennis Bloodworth in the book “The Tiger And The Trojan Horse” on the “bizarre inside story of the duel between ill-matched adversaries - the People’s Action Party and the Communist United Front” in Singapore in the sixties has three separate references on Tan Sin on his clash with the Barisan Sosialis Chairman Dr. Lee Siew Choh on what should be the correct ideological line for the left-wing movement in Singapore caught in the midst of China’s Cultural Revolution.
One can agree or disagree with Tan’s trade union activities in Singapore in the sixties, but there can be no doubt that he was not motivated by any personal gain but by his commitment to serve the larger workers’ cause.
I hope George Chan would not try to unfairly exploit Tan’s past, as he would then be repudiating the radical history and founding leaders of the SUPP and might be implicating Datuk Sim Kheng Hui, Sarawak’s Assistant Minister for Industrial Development and SUPP Secretary-General as like Tan Seng Hin, Sim was previously detained under Internal Security Act (and for a longer period) and blacklisted and banned from entering Singapore.