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After more than a week, Today has finally published the SDP’s reply (below) to Mr Loh Chee Kong’s article — online. This is disingenuous as the newspaper’s online readership pales in comparison with its print readership. It is yet another example of how the state media continues its campaign against the SDP.
Thank you for the letter, which was sent to Chee Kong.
Each day, we receive many more letters than we are able to publish in print.
In January, we launched Voices Online, which is an extension of our Voices pages in cyberspace.
Your letter has been uploaded to Voices Online.
You will find a navigation button to Voices Online on the right hand side of our home page.
10 Mar 09
Dear Mr Walter Fernandez,
I believe the point that your newspaper’s online readership is vastly different in terms of quantity from that of your print version is not lost on you.
Mr Loh Chee Kong’s disparaging remarks of the SDP was published in print. I only ask that you do the same for my reply.
Your point that you receive more letters than you are able to publish in print is spurious. I do not believe that my reply to clear SDP’s name will not be of interest to your readers. In fact, given that the general elections may be called soon I am certain that it will be widely read.
I did not ask for Mr Loh to write about the Singapore Democrats. But when he does, it is only fair and decent that your newspaper accords us the full reply especially when the facts are erroneous and misleading.
Be that as it may, if your concern is space constraints I am willing to shorten my letter. Please, no more excuses, publish my reply.
As this matter is of public interest, I trust you will not mind if I posted this correspondence on our website.
Chee Soon Juan
Online only – I was no ‘protege’: Chee
10 Mar 09
Mr Loh Chee Kong’s description of the Singapore Democratic Party in “A politician who hates politics” (article below) is misleading and mischievous.
Mr Loh equates the “darker side of politics” with the fact that Mr Chiam was “ousted from the very party he had founded in 1980.”
Mr Chiam was never ousted from any party. He had resigned as secretary-general after he was out-voted over a motion he had tabled in a Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting.
Each CEC member is entitled to a vote on all matters governing the party. Mr Loh equates this with the “darker side” of politics. No wonder we are still under one-party rule even in the new millenium.
My Loh describes me as Mr Chiam’s protege who had come into the party and subsequently kicked Mr Chiam out. This is the kind of propaganda that the PAP has been spouting all these years in the state media to turn the people against me.
I had not met Mr Chiam before I joined the party and had minimal contact with him or any one in the SDP before I stood for the by-election in 1992. I could not have been anyone’s protege because a protege is someone trained or groomed by another for a particular line of work.
Like many in the opposition, I joined politics because I heeded my country’s call for freedom and democracy, not because anyone had encouraged or taken me as their protege
Being groomed by a mentor takes place only in an autocratic party. In a democratic one, we prefer to rely on leaders who have the necessary vision and courage to step forward and convince his fellow members that he is worthy of their support.
Mr Loh’s report is bent on dredging up an issue that happened 17 years ago with the obvious attempt to continue the discord between Mr Chiam and I as well as to continue to turn public opinion against the SDP.
The facts as to how Mr Chiam left the SDP are explained fully and clearly in the SDP’s website. Why did Mr Loh ignore this in his report?
Mr Chiam and I have spoken cordially to each other at a luncheon at the US ambassador’s residence last year and we met again at the Reform Party’s inauguration dinner in 2008.
I have on separate occasions indicated that while we may have our differences, my colleagues and I bear no ill-will towards Mr Chiam. In fact we wish him and his party all the best in their endeavours. Perhaps, your newspaper finds this hard to swallow.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party
A politician who hates politics
Loh Chee Kong
28 Feb 09
For someone who describes himself as a “simple and straightforward” man, Mr Chiam See Tong revealed that politics has “changed me a lot … for the worse”.
Said Mr Chiam: “Now, I can’t treat anyone I meet as a friend … I step back and ask myself: ‘What are you up to?’”
But isn’t that the price of joining politics?
“I didn’t know before… now I’m learning,” he said.
Anyone who follows Mr Chiam’s political career would understand his disdain for the darker side of politics.
Fresh from leading the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) to three parliamentary seats in the 1991 General Election, Mr Chiam soon found himself ousted from the very party he had founded in 1980.
The long-drawn saga — set in motion after Mr Chiam brought his one-time protege Dr Chee Soon Juan into the party — had obviously scarred him. Said his wife Lina: “He would have nightmares and wake up suddenly … he doesn’t talk about it but it’s hurting him inside.”