MR. DAVID MARSHALL, the Workers’ Party candidate in the Anson by-election, tonight suggested that the news of the assassination attempt on the Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and his Cabinet might be a “cheap propaganda trick”.
Speaking at an election rally at the corner of Choon Guan Street and Peck Seah Street, Mr. Marshall said that many things have occurred in the past few days on which he would like to touch upon.
One of these was the alleged plot to assassinate Mr. Lee and his Ministers, which had received wide publicity.
Mr. Marshall said that he found it difficult to believe that anybody in Singapore was mad enough to want to indulge in violence when there was available machinery for peaceful change.
“If there are people who believe that in Singapore assassinations can achieve peaceable ends, I hope they will be dealt with without pity, for they have no pity on the people of Singapore who will suffer. They are mad – dangerous lunatics,” he said.
He recalled that at the last general elections, the then Chief Minister, Mr. Lim Yew Hock, had made a big propaganda issue out of the fact that he was threatened with assassination and the newspapers were full of poor Lim Yew Hock.
Mr. Marshall suggested that the alleged plot to assassinate Mr. Lee might also be a political propaganda stunt built on the fact that some hand grenades were found which might have nothing to do with any political plot.
Mr. Marshall said that in spite of what he had said at the last two rallies, there was no attempt to deny any of the charges when the PAP had their rally last Sunday.
Instead, the PAP had indulged in personal abuse, said Mr. Marshall.
The PAP had said that Mr. Marshall was using communalism to catch votes because he had advised the people that each community should maintain its respect for its cultural traditions whilst seeking new ways of contact and co-operation with other communities. That to deny one’s roots was to be less than a dog.
“I believe this is psychologically true of every human being in this and every other country in the world. This is not communalism. It is an attempt to prevent hypocrisy from sapping our moral and spiritual strength,” said Mr. Marshall.
Started as a clerk
He also recalled that Mr. Lee had charged that he (Mr. Marshall) did not belong to this country and would run away to Australia to join his brother.
Mr. Marshall pointed out that his father came to Singapore 61 years ago and “we, his children, were all born in Singapore.”
While it was true that two of his brothers left and settled in Australia before the war, he decided to stay.
Mr. Marshall said that he went to school in St. Andrews and Raffles Institution and when he tried to get a job, he could only get a job as a clerk in a European firm because he was an Asian.
As a clerk, his highest salary was $175 a month. He taught at the YMCA at night where he earned $40 a month. From these, he save $100 a month for years till he had $3,400, and decided to become a professional man to break through the barriers of racial discrimination.
He studied law and did odd jobs in London but when he came back he found that, although a professional man, discriminations existed. He could not get into a Chinese legal firm because he was not Chinese. English legal firms were prepared to take him only as a clerk on a clerk’s salary. So he started on his own.