Monday, May 21, 2007

The indefatigable JBJ is back!

Hi friends,

JB Jeyaratnam, the one face that is most recognizable as being the icon of opposition politics in Singapore is back!

I have nothing but admiration for JBJ. No one doubts that he has given up much for what he believed in. His legal career, his material possessions and his whole life had been dedicated to the ideal of a multi-party politics of the Westminster model.

For him there is no compromise. Either the whole nine yards or nothing. Everything else is not worth considering. Only a completely free unfettered democratic system is the real McCoy.

Not for him the accommodating styles of LTK and CST. For him, the PAP are just wily predators taking all for a ride. The way the PAP has ridden roughshod over its opposition will forever be a stain on its legacy, notwithstanding the real benefits enjoyed by the people. In his usual unapologetic style he says, “I believe that it’s only confrontational politics that will get you anywhere.”

Believe in him or not, he will not be ignored, even if he is already 81 year-old!

What’s with all these 80 year old’s ?

For the pre-65’s who have lived through the roller-coaster highs and lows with JBJ, we can only wish this Lion of Anson well.

JBJ, Live Long and Prosper ( according to your own unique definition of prosperity)!


Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan

JBJ plans to set up new political party

Today 21.5.07 Loh Chee Kong

AT AGE 81, when most people would be relaxing and spending time with their grandchildren, Mr Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam is instead gearing up for a new challenge. One of Singapore’s most colourful Opposition figures, he announced his political comeback yesterday.

“I intend to form a new party to give Singaporeans a chance again ... I would like Singaporeans to say they want a complete, thorough change in the way this country is
being run. I want them to say, ‘Enough is enough’,” he said. Tentatively called the Reform
Party, Mr Jeyaretnam hopes it will be set up within three months.

“Singaporeans who are happy with the system shouldn’t come to us — they should go and see Chiam See Tong or Low Thia Khiang who are happy with the system,” said the former secretary-general of the Workers’ Party (WP), reflecting his dissatisfaction with the work of the two incumbent Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Singapore Democratic Alliance and the WP respectively.

Any new political party has to seek approval from the Registrar of Societies.

Mr Jeyaretnam, who was discharged from bankruptcy earlier this month, has recruited nine people for his new party, including long-time ally Mr Ng Teck Siong and current WP member James Teo, who has not yet told the WP that he plans to quit the party.

The other seven, who include several lawyers, are “in their 30s and 50s” and “new to politics”, Mr Jeyaretnam added.

Some opposition activists welcomed the news. While Mr Chiam declined comment, SPP chairman Sin Kek Tong told 938Live: “Look at the kind of political culture in Singapore, it is dominated by the PAP. Maybe there should be more parties to counter it.”

Speaking to TODAY, Mr Jeyaretnam, who has lived at his late sister’s home in Malaysia and in a Singapore hotel over the last seven years, said he would move back to strategise for the next General Election, due by 2011.

Disappointed that he could not be discharged in time for last year’s polls, he said he would contest the next election if health permitted — if not, he would build a team to do so. He said: “I’ve been accused of being confrontational. But I believe that it’s only confrontational politics that will get you anywhere.”

The veteran lawyer also said he hoped to renew his practising certificate in “a week or two”.
Asked if the sacrifices he had made during his 36 years in politics were worth it, Mr Jeyaretnam said: “A number of people have said that I’ve woken them up to the grim realities of Singapore — that in itself is an achievement.”

Surprised by Mr Jeyaretnam’s move, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zainul Abidin Rasheed, who crossed swords with him in Cheng San GRC in 1997, said: “He might have his own reasons for it but he’s been through quite a lot, so I don’t know what else he wants to achieve.”

Mr Jeyaretnam made history in 1981 by becoming the first opposition candidate elected to the post-independence Parliament but lost his seat after a court conviction.In 2001, he fell out with the WP after being barred from contesting elections as he was a declared bankrupt.

That chapter came to close earlier this month, he revealed, when his two sons – one
of whom is Law Society president Philip Jeyaretnam — and “three or four Singaporeans”
helped him raise the $233,255.78 needed to pay off his creditors and have him discharged from bankruptcy.

True to form, Mr Jeyaretnam spent 90 minutes attacking the Government at the press conference.

He also had harsh words for current WP chief Mr Low. He accused Mr Low of having “served the PAP’s cause” in 2001, when the WP refused to contribute towards clearing Mr Jeyaretnam’s debts incurred in 1995 for defamation damages. Mr Low could not be reached for comment yesterday.

WP’s organising secretary Yaw Shin Leong did not think Mr Jeyaretnam was trying to belittle the efforts of opposition activists with his comments. “Diversity is good for the country,” he added. – LOH CHEE KONG


guojun said...

fight on, JBJ!

Hello, Dr.Huang. Been awhile since i came by. It'll be interesting to see how this will end. Finally LKY has someone of his generation to face down.

Although i wonder if there's another defamation suit in the making...

nofearSingapore said...

Hi guojun,
I hope it doesn't go up that garden trail again.
We want real engagement with real choices.
The authorities should not fear a challenge from anyone. Competition is good. It brings out the best value for the people.
Let the people decide.

aliendoc said...

guojun said: "Although i wonder if there's another defamation suit in the making... "
That was my initial thought too!

Anonymous said...

If you want real engagement, then make sure you make that known at the polls.

Anonymous said...

"Confrontational politics"
My cup of tea.

JBJ will not fight alone!

Desmond Lim said...


Anonymous said...

Singaporeans can tap JBJ on the shoulders and say "well done mate
I will cheer you on. Jolly good. Give it to them"

But come election time, when the goodies are tangled out, they have a short memory.

Sigh, disappointed again