A group of opposition activists met with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday to talk about democracy and freedom in Southeast Asia. Among them were exiled activist Tan Wah Piow and historian Thum Ping Tjin, aka the man who was grilled for 6 hours by our dear Minister Shanmugam.
And a bonus? The meeting lasted for 1 hr 20 minutes. Let's look back at PM Lee's meeting with Mahathir which lasted only 30 minutes and let it sink in. We shall not say much.
The opposition activists looked up to Mahathir as he established the Pakatan Harapan, overcame the hurdles, claimed a shocking victory and won the hearts of Malaysians. For that, they are convinced that Mahathir is a beacon of hope for countries struggling for democracy. As activist Tan Wah Piow expressed: “Malaysia is now shining this beacon which is probably stealing the limelight from Singapore. I think that’s what worries them. Singapore is becoming (an) outdated, archaic society with its dominant party controls".
They have also invited Mahathir to speak at a conference on building democracy in SEA next year.
But what else did they discuss during the meeting? What does this mean for Singapore? Are we entitled to think that there is more, if not some hope for an opposition coalition in Singapore?