Singapore

Oxford academics say Thum is and remains a trained historian

This article is more than 12 months old

A group of academics from the University of Oxford have written to the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods to attest to historian Thum Ping Tjin's academic credentials.

They said Dr Thum had received a Doctor of Philosophy in History from the university and is an active researcher who has produced refereed academic books and journal articles.

"Dr PJ Thum is and remains an academically trained historian," said Emeritus Beit Professor of Commonwealth History Judith Brown, Emeritus Professor of Global and Imperial History John Darwin and Emeritus Fellow of Trinity College Peter Carey in a letter they released to the media yesterday.

Their comments follow a statement on Monday by committee chairman Charles Chong, who accused Dr Thum of possibly being in cahoots with foreigners in an attempt to influence and subvert Singapore's parliamentary processes. Mr Chong had also called into question Dr Thum's affiliation with the university.

The academics, who were examiners and supervisors of Dr Thum's doctoral thesis, said his work was successfully examined on March 17, 2011.

"We wish to affirm that his doctoral thesis, Chinese Language Political Mobilisation in Singapore, 1953-1963, was written to the very highest standards of historical research that Oxford expects of its doctoral students," they said.

The correspondence is the latest in a series of statements and letters put out by the Select Committee and various academics about Dr Thum and his appearance in front of the Select Committee on March 29.

A group of 284 academics from around the world and some Oxford researchers had accused the committee of intimidating and discrediting Dr Thum for criticising the Government, in a letter and a statement.

Dr Thum had said in his written submission to the Select Committee that the Government was the biggest purveyor of fake news and had lied about Operation Coldstore, a 1963 dragnet in which more than 100 leftist unionists and politicians were arrested.

He was subsequently challenged about the claim by Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam during the committee's hearings in a six-hour exchange.

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