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In announcing the registration of the much awaited Reform Party Mr J B Jeyaretnam, its pro-tem Secretary-General, stressed the need for “change” in Singapore which he said is absolutely necessary to “liberate” and “empower” the people who have been enslaved by the PAP for too long.
Mr Jeyaretnam was speaking at a press conference this afternoon at the Quality Hotel in Balestier Road. He said an application for the registration of the new party with ten names of office bearers was submitted to the Registrar of Societies yesterday.
He added that it would take about two months before the party is officially registered.
In a packed conference Mr Jeyaretnam said that come 3 June, the PAP would have completed 49 years of its uninterrupted rule in Singapore.
What is shocking, however, is the admission by the prime minister recently that Singapore does not have enough talent, the opposition leader added.
“The primary and main task of any government is to educate the people, empower them, so that there will be at all times a pool of talent available in the country.
“But Mr Lee Hsien Loong now says we are bankrupt of talent,” Mr Jeyaretnam said.
This admission alone, he pointed out, is sufficient and adequate reason why change is necessary, adding that it is a crisis that is affecting Singapore’s advancement.
Mr Jeyaretnam also noted that for his part, the Senior Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong had said sometime back that there is no talent in Singapore outside of one particular family.
“It is not that we did not have talent,” the veteran politician pointed out, “the talent of the Singapore people has all dried up under the PAP lightning. Those who could not take it, left in droves to other countries. Those remaining are enslaved by the PAP.”
He then spoke about the futility of parliamentary elections in Singapore: “Through the electoral machinery, the GRC system, the high deposits and so on, the PAP is able to keep the opposition out of parliament.”
He said one of the first steps is to have an elections commission.
Mr Jeyaretnam also advocated that the police force be under a corporation and its commissioner answerable to parliament.
The Judiciary also came up for scathing attack from the veteran politician. He said there should be a separate body to select and appoint judges unlike the present system where judges are on a short-term two-year contract.
Singapore Democrats Chairman Gandhi Ambalam, who attended the conference, congratulated the newly formed party and said that it could look forward to close cooperation from the SDP in the struggle against PAP authoritarianism.
Mr Ng Teck Siong is the pro-tem Chairman.