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Former political dissident, S'pore civil activists meet Dr Mahathir

SINGAPORE – Former political dissident Tan Wah Piow, along with several Singaporeans, met with Malaysia Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Aug 30) and invited him to speak at a regional conference on democracy.

Former political dissident Tan Wah Piow (L) and Malaysian activist Hishammuddin Rais pose for a picture with  Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohammad on Aug 30, 2018.

Former political dissident Tan Wah Piow (L) and Malaysian activist Hishammuddin Rais pose for a picture with Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohammad on Aug 30, 2018.

SINGAPORE – Former political dissident Tan Wah Piow, along with several Singaporeans, met with Malaysia Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Aug 30) and invited him to speak at a regional conference on democracy.

The Singaporeans present at the meeting, which took place at Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya, were historian Thum Ping Tjin, freelance journalist Kirsten Han, civil rights activist Jolovan Wham and award-winning graphic novelist Sonny Liew.

According to Mr Tan, the meeting with Dr Mahathir lasted an hour and 20 minutes.

Mr Tan, who lives in exile in London after his citizenship was revoked over 30 years ago, had requested to meet with the Malaysian premier and invited him to speak at a conference on democracy in South-east Asia that his non-profit organisation – Forces for Renewal of South East Asia – is organising. Mr Tan said the conference will take place in Kuala Lumpur in the first quarter of next year, but did not have further details.

Dr Mahathir has accepted Mr Tan’s invitation “in-principle”, subject to his availability, a representative from the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office confirmed to Channel NewsAsia.

Malaysian activist Hishamuddin Rias, who is part of Mr Tan’s organisation, helped to organise the meeting with Dr Mahathir and was also present at Thursday’s meeting.

Mr Tan was said by the Singapore Government to be involved in a planned Marxist coup in 1987, and had his Singapore citizenship revoked.

Dr Thum, who is a research fellow at Oxford University, crossed swords with Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam earlier this year during the public hearings by the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods after he claimed Operation Coldstore was politically motivated.

Following their meeting with Dr Mahathir, both Dr Thum and Mr Tan posted a photograph on Facebook of their meeting.

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