A falsehood that SDP broke agreement on secret meeting. Here’s proof

Singapore Democrats

Meeting at John Tan’s house in January 2011. (from left): John, Dr Chee, Bentley Tan, Mrs Lina Chiam, Mr Chiam and Dr Wong Wee Nam.During the Bukit Batok by-election, the Straits Times published a report on Cooling-off Day (6 May 2016) attacking Dr Chee over the matter of a meeting the SDP had with the Chiams in 2011.

Because the report was made on Cooling-off Day, it made it impossible for Dr Chee Soon Juan to provide a timely response.

The meeting in 2011, which the Chiams and the SDP agreed was to be confidential, was to discuss the possibility of Mr Chiam returning to the SDP.

But Mrs Lina Chiam said in the Straits Times report on 6 May 2016 that she was unhappy because “there was an understanding that the details of the meetings should be kept confidential if the whole thing fizzled out. We kept (our) side of the bargain.”

This is a complete and utter falsehood. The Chiams did not keep their side of the bargain. Here’s the proof:

In early 2011, Dr Wong Wee Nam and Mr Bentley Tan, mutual acquaintances, had approached the SDP to meet with the Chiams. We agreed and the appointment was set up. The discussion subsequently grew over a few meetings, one of which was held at my home (see picture above).

It was agreed by everyone in the meeting that the discussion was confidential unless both parties agreed to make it public. There is no dispute on this point as Mrs Lina Chiam acknowledged this in the recent Straits Times report on 6 May.

But then she added that it was the SDP that had breached this confidentiality when we published Dr Wong Wee Nam’s article in The New Democrat in June 2015. She failed to mention one crucial fact:

On 19 April 2011 – the day Parliament was dissolved for the elections – the Straits Times published a report, “Chee ‘invited me to return to SDP’”, in which Mr Chiam revealed what was discussed at the meeting (read the report here).

Yes, there was a breach of the agreement but it was the Chiams who broke that agreement – not the SDP and certainly not Dr Chee. In fact, the same Straits Times article reported that “Dr Chee yesterday declined to comment on the surprising turn of events.”

For Mrs Lina Chiam now to say that they had kept to their side of the bargain is outrageous. The 19 April Straits Times report in 2011 is incontrovertible proof of the untruthfulness of her statement. 

We have stated repeatedly that falsehoods, if left un-rebutted and repeated long enough, become truth. Already the website The Middle Ground is repeating Mrs Chiam’s words: “the meetings were meant to be private, and that the Chiams had kept to their ‘side of the bargain’.”

It is such falsehoods that the PAP will seize on to attack the SDP and Dr Chee during elections. This has happened on numerous occasions in the past but it must not be allowed to happen again in the future. 

John Tan
Singapore Democratic Party

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