Workers Party Clearly Have No Shame Otherwise Why Do They Continue to Cynically Use JBJ’s Name Despite Abandoning Him So Callously?
I came across this post on the Workers Party Facebook page by Lee Li Lian. According to her post, during a recent walkabout a resident of Punggol East shared with her a memory of buying a copy of the Hammer from my late father .
I wonder whether Lee Li Lian informed the woman that Low Thia Kiang (LTK) aided by his cronies and newly minted cadre members, forced JBJ out of the party in 2000 and took the Secretary General position.
For those who might not be familiar with the history, the Workers Party had up till then been virtually indistinguishable from JBJ.David Marshall may have founded the Workers Party but by 1972, when my father took over as Secretary General, it was completely defunct. It was only through JBJ’s blood, sweat and tears and his sacrifices and those of his family, including my mother’s life, that the Workers Party became the only party that challenged the PAP’s totalitarian one-party rule. Without JBJ’s tireless challenging of the PAP and LKY, there would have been no victory for LTK in Hougang and without JBJ’s almost victory in Cheng San, only stopped by blatant intimidation and breaking of the Elections Act by the PAP, there would have been no Aljunied.
Did Ms Lee inform the woman she met that LTK was only able to take over because JBJ had been made a bankrupt after he was unable to pay the enormous damages the Singaporean courts awarded eleven Tamil “worthies”, including Jayakumar and another PAP MP, after they brought defamation suits against JBJ and the Workers Party.
The suits arose out of an article published in the Hammer and written in Tamil, a language JBJ could not read. The Workers Party and its CEC, including LTK, who had by this time enjoyed several years of an MP’s salary, was also a party to the lawsuits. They should have also paid at least one-third of the damages, but for some strange reason escaped liability altogether or were given lenient treatment by the plaintiffs and the PAP.
Anyway the end result was that JBJ’s bankruptcy paved the way for LTK to take over the Workers Party. My father often said that Lee Kuan Yew boasted about how pleased he was that LTK had got rid of JBJ. See this video of his press conference at the inauguration of the Reform Party in which he also says that people who are happy with the status quo should stick with LTK:
Of course none of the current WP MPs mention their leader’s shabby treatment of my father. They are happy to make use of him in a cynical and hypocritical manner to win votes and popularity. Lee Li Lian mentions JBJ frequently, including during the 2011 general election. Pritam Singh had the gall to refer to my father as his hero in the Workers Party television broadcast during the same campaign However none of them turned up for the JBJ Memorial event that I helped to organise that year, saying they were too busy or not even bothering to respond. This disgusting appropriation of the man they stabbed in the back has worked so well that when I and my colleagues do walkabouts, residents often seem puzzled because they think that JBJ was still a member of the Workers Party when he died.
Nothing could more clearly illustrate the difference between the new blood in the WP who are so keen to steal his popularity and my father than the different choices made by Lee Li Lian and JBJ. After JBJ qualified for an NCMP seat in 1997 the PAP, with their usual vindictive spitefulness reduced the NCMP allowance from 100% of an MP’s salary to 10%. My father still accepted this because he was motivated by a desire to serve the people who voted for him. In contrast Lee Li Lian, after she lost Punggol East in 2015 but still qualified for an NCMP seat, declined the seat because she said the money was not enough for the time and commitment required for the role, which would be similar to that for a full time MP.
My father would turn over in his grave if he knew that all the sacrifices he made, financial and personal, ending up with little more than the clothes on his back, had enabled LTK and his cronies and proteges to make millions in MP salaries and fees for managing the Town Council. His selfless desire to serve the people has become merely an obscene desire by his supplanters to enrich themselves. In the mistaken belief that not challenging the PAP will make them acceptable accomplices to a totalitarian regime, they have perverted the role of the Opposition and done serious harm by allowing the Government to pretend Singapore is a kind of democracy. It is time for the Workers Party to have the decency to stop using JBJ’s name and to admit that they represent the opposite of everything he stood for,
I am facing the same predicament. As I have already resigned from the Reform Party, I am unable to remove the articles I wrote in the sonofadud website blog appearing under the Guest blog. I do not want to be associated with the Reform Party anymore as I disagree with certain of their beliefs. But I am unable to remove my articles and prevent my name to continue to be associated with the Reform Party. This shows you can’t erase your past.
Very amusing Matthew if sadly passsive aggressive.
Firstly Matthew most of what you say is false. This blog has nothing to do with the Reform Party. I am aware that you later promised your mother you wouldn’t get involved in politics and I respect that but this is a personal blog by an economist.
Secondly, I did remove the articles when asked. I didn’t have to. It seems one slipped the net though four were removed. You could simply have reminded me about the one I missed in error.
Next, you are hardly in the same predicament as JBJ and his legacy and even I wouldn’t claim to be in the same predicament as him. You need to take a reality check.
It’s of no merit to me to have your articles here. They are over five years old and still had only a few hundred views. Most posts here get views in the tens of thousands. I am happy to have been of help in spreading your reputation as an author though.
I do agree with you that you can’t erase your past. They were published publicly and you didn’t claim copyright so anyone could have hold of them even though they no longer appear here. Maybe the answer is to be true to yourself so that you won’t feel the need for a U turn. So, I can’t erase your past but luckily I can erase your articles from my blog. Ta da!