In 1978, Deng Xiao Ping visited Singapore and started an economic reform in the vein of capitalism. White cat black cat never mind as long as it catches mice. 1978 possibly marked the end of Communism except in name in China. In 1981, Deng Xiao Ping also ordered the closure of the Malayan Revolutionary Radio broadcasting to Malaysia and Singapore.
Govt to govt relationship between Singapore and China was on the mend and improving by leaps and bounds. Communism was as good as dead as an alternative govt or for exporting revolution by the 1980s when Gorbache’s glasnost and petroiska led to the break up of the Soviet Union.
This is not true in Singapore as a small group of young men and women were plotting a Marxist revolution by infiltrating into the Catholic Church. Obviously they could not be gaining any support from China as Deng Xiao Ping would not allow it or his relationship with LKY would be over. Could this Marxist Group be supported by the Russians or the Communist Party of Malaya(CPM)? With Gorbachev in charge, Russia was in a different kind of revolution, opening up to the West. The CPM was dormant since the silencing of its radio broadcast. In 1989 they signed a peace accord with Malaysia and officially ended their fight for Communism and a Malayan state.
The Marxist Group in Singapore was arrested in 1987 under Operation Spectrum for plotting to overturn the govt by force. Their existence was proof that there must be another revolutionary organization supporting the Marxist movement. They could not be supported by China or Russia or the CPM. Unfortunately, after Operation Spectrum there was no further news of the organization that was behind this Marxist Group for armed revolution in Singapore. It must have gone into hiding. As long as they are not flushed out, the danger is still there.
The 16 arrested could not be a meaningful force to take down the govt on their own or by a revolution. Not by any imagination. They didn’t look that able against an efficient ruling govt and a well equipped armed force. My theory is that they were not supported by the Communist giants but a more powerful force. Who and where is this force that is behind them? They are called Marxists, not Communists, for Communism’s platform of violent overthrow of govts was long a spent force. By the late 1980s, who cared about Communism? Perhaps the origin of this force could be from the dark side.