PM Lee offers condolences after death of longest-serving ISD director Lim Chye Heng

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SINGAPORE: Following the passing of Singapore’s longest-serving Internal Security Department (ISD) director, Mr Lim Chye Heng, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong offered his condolences to the late Mr Lim’s wife.

PM Lee shared his letter, addressed to Madam Tan Chooi Gek, in a Facebook post on Monday (Nov 27). PM Lee wrote that he was “Deeply saddened by the passing of Lim Chye Heng. He was the longest serving Director of the Internal Security Department, which he led from 1975 to 1982″. Mr Lim died on Nov 21, aged 93. In his letter, PM Lee said Mr Lim was instrumental in curbing the revived Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) threat during the 1970s. “Communist underground cadres and sympathisers were then active in Singapore – recruiting new members, spreading its ideology, and providing material support to communist guerrillas in Malaysia. Under Mr Lim’s watch, more than 700 communist underground activists were arrested and neutralised in successive security operations,” he wrote.

PM Lee continued: “Those who worked with Mr Lim attest to his tough discipline, strong work ethic, and care for his officers. He held himself – and his colleagues – to the highest professional standards. His numerous contributions in security and intelligence, most of which must remain confidential, ensured the stability and security of our nation”.

He added that one of Mr Lim’s first assignments was to investigate the simultaneous bomb attacks on three police stations carried out by the communist underground. Mr Lim was then posted to the Special Branch, which was later renamed to ISD, in 1962, when the CPM posed a serious security threat. “The communist united front had infiltrated student groups, political parties, trade unions, and cultural organisations,” PM Lee said, adding that Mr Lim was responsible for investigating and carrying out operations against them. He also investigated Indonesian saboteurs during Konfrontasi. Following a major reorganisation of the intelligence community in 1966, Mr Lim was posted to the Security and Intelligence Division (SID) in the Ministry of the Interior and Defence, where he later became deputy director.

Mr Lim returned to ISD as its director on Jan 1, 1975, where he sharpened ISD’s operational capabilities and deepened relations with foreign intelligence services to deal with the security challenges of the day, said PM Lee.

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