26 November 2004
Veteran opposition figure Joshua “J.B.” Jeyaretnam said Friday his political career is likely over after an appeal’s court in Singapore ruled he is bankrupt, a decision that bars him from parliament.
“I have not received the justice that I had a right to expect from the court,” he told The Associated Press.
Jeyaretnam – a thorn in the flesh of the long-ruling People’s Action Party – has for years been embroiled in a thicket of libel and defamation lawsuits, many brought by PAP stalwarts.
The former head of the Workers’ Party was declared bankrupt in January 2001 after missing a single payment from a 500,000 Singapore dollars (US$290,000; euro220,000) libel lawsuit filed by PAP members.
Singapore law bars people declared bankrupt from standing for elected office.
Earlier this year, Jeyaretnam twice tried and failed to get the city-state’s lower courts to set aside the bankruptcy ruling.
The moves were opposed by many of his creditors, including former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.
Jeyaretnam said Friday he can’t run for office again unless “someone gives me the money to pay off the entire sum.”
The PAP was founded by Lee Kuan Yew – Singapore’s founding father and Jeyaretnam’s longtime political foe.
It has won every election in the city-state since independence in 1965.
Jeyaretnam won a hotly disputed by-election in 1981 as the only opposition member in parliament.