Singapore Democrats Professor Terry Nardin, Head of the Political Science Department at the National University of Singapore (NUS), has refused to get involved in the controversy surrounding Dr Bilveer Singh, who had published factually wrong statements about the departure of Mr Chiam See Tong from the SDP in 1993.
Dr Singh wrote in a book that Dr Chee had “challenged” Mr Chiam for the leadership of the party and eventually ousted him. Dr Chee provided a detailed and factual rebuttal of Dr Singh’s account that show plainly that this was untrue. (See here)
Dr Chee then contacted Prof Singh and invited the academic to meet so that the errors could be cleared up. But Dr Singh refused to return SDP leader’s emails and telephone calls. (See here) The academic never interviewed Dr Chee in the course of writing his book Politics and Governance in Singapore which he uses to teach undergraduates.
In addition the NUS don showed a total lack of courtesy by refusing to return Dr Chee’s contacts, even though Dr Chee left several emails and voicemail messages for him to do so.
Dr Chee then wrote to Prof Nardin to ask him to alert Prof Singh “over a serious and urgent matter.” After a several days, the head of department replied that “there is no reason for me to be involved in the matter.”
It is strange that given the nature of the dispute, which is a professional issue involving the research of one of his staff members, Prof Nardin says that he doesn’t want to get involved.
Dr Chee’s reply to Prof Nardin
12 May 2010
Dear Prof Nardin,
Thank you for your email.
You are correct in that Prof Singh has been alerted to the factual errors and problematic analysis in one of his books. I have repeatedly left messages for him to call me and/or email me on this matter but he has ignored all my contacts.
This is not a personal dispute between Prof Singh and I. It is a serious matter that reflects on the quality of the research of members of the Political Science Department at the NUS as well as the way controversial academic analyses are handled by one of your staff members.
Of course, there is every reason for you to be involved in the matter.
As head of the department I am alerting you to the problem that exists and Prof Singh’s way of handling the issue. I can only conclude from his ignoring my contacts that he does not wish to find ways to improve on the methodology and, therefore, accuracy of his research. This must surely concern you as a fellow academic and as head of the department.
I would like to give him and your department every opportunity to resolve this matter in a professional way and I hope you, given your position, will take it.
Given the public interest of the matter and in the interest of transparency, I may need to post, and/or report on, our email correspondence. I hope you to hear from you very soon. Thank you.
Chee Soon Juan
Prof Nardin has yet to reply.