Monday, September 5, 2011

Will Tan Jee Say form new party?

The Straits Times

EVEN as the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) restructures its leadership, questions are being raised as to whether its famous former member Tan Jee Say, who quit the SDP to run for president, will rejoin it or form a new party.

Mr Tan himself says he is keeping all options open: 'I'm open to all possibilities. As I've said before, I will listen to my supporters and see what they say.'

During his presidential campaign, Mr Tan was helped by opposition figures such as SDP's Dr Ang Yong Guan and Ms Michelle Lee, and the National Solidarity Party's (NSP) Ms Nicole Seah and Mrs Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss.

When Dr Ang was asked whether he would follow Mr Tan if the latter set up a new party, he was non-committal.

'All of those supporting him have to reflect and think how best to contribute to his party and what role they can play,' he said.

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss and Ms Seah said they would not. The former is NSP vice-president and the latter a member of its executive committee. Ms Lee could not be reached for comment.
Political analyst Derek da Cunha said he would not be surprised if Mr Tan and other opposition figures set up a new party as a vehicle to contest a GRC at the next general election, due by 2016.

'Five or six quality individuals who can get along well with each other forming a 'Dream Team' and going up against the PAP in a GRC would make sense,' he said.

They would, however, need to secure at least 100 volunteers to handle the logistics for such a task, he added.

SDP's new committee under scrutiny

Tessa Wong - The Straits Times

WHAT does the Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) election of a new central executive committee (CEC) say about its future direction?

Political observers are divided on this question.

The new CEC, formed two weeks ago, comprises a mix of old and new faces. Mr Jufrie Mahmood, a veteran opposition member, is now its chairman, while Mr Vincent Cheng, a former detainee and newcomer to opposition politics, is vice-chairman.

Civil society activist Vincent Wijeysingha, another newcomer to opposition politics, has been promoted to treasurer.

Mr John Law, another newcomer, fills in Dr Wijeysingha's previous post as assistant treasurer.

Among the old faces: Dr Chee Soon Juan and Mr John Tan remain as secretary-general and assistant secretary-general respectively, and Ms Chee Siok Chin and Mr Mohamed Isa as CEC members.

Former vice-chairman Francis Yong is now a CEC member.

Excluded from the CEC line-up are Dr Ang Yong Guan and Ms Michelle Lee, who were among a number of highly qualified former establishment moderates who recently joined the party to contest the May General Election.

Dr Ang is a psychiatrist and retired army colonel, and Ms Lee a former Monetary Authority of Singapore officer.

The two of them, together with Dr Wijeysingha and Mr Tan Jee Say, formed the SDP's A-team in the General Election and stood in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC. Mr Tan quit the party in July to run for president.

The prominence of these candidates played a part in attracting more young professionals with moderate liberal views to the SDP, both during and after the election.

Dr Ang and Ms Lee were among those in this moderate group, and some speculated that they might take up leadership positions in the SDP.

But the two told The Straits Times that they did not wish to run for the CEC, preferring to be involved in newly set-up subcommittees.

Ms Lee said she also needed more time to concentrate on her family and work. She currently teaches at a private school.

'(The party leaders) discussed with us, and said there was a two-track system. They said they wanted to see how things go. And it's vice versa. We also want to find out where we can best contribute,' said Dr Ang.

SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan said that the SDP has seen a 'dramatic expansion' of its ranks, and hence now needs a larger structure to ensure 'a high quality of management across all the party's work streams'.

'As such, capable members are being deployed across a much wider leadership team outside of the CEC,' he said.

He said new members are now holding key positions in subcommittees.

Dr Ang heads a health care advisory panel, and Ms Lee facilitates a fund-raising group. Academic James Gomez coordinates a policy studies subcommittee and Mr Alec Tok, who owns a theatre company, is involved with a training and development subcommittee.

Dr Gomez joined the SDP last year, while Mr Tok joined right before the General Election.

Political observer Alex Au noted that the party appears to be opting for 'stability rather than an abrupt shift' by voting in familiar faces known to be 'steadfast to a certain political standard'.

'There has not been any wholesale change, and I'm not surprised. We have to consider the membership base, where the moderates are probably not that significant in number,' he said.

The SDP declined to reveal membership figures.

Assistant law professor Eugene Tan of the Singapore Management University, however, views the new CEC line-up as a sign that moderate voices are being 'sidelined' in the party.

As this was the first committee elected after the May General Election, it would have been 'a powerful signal' if more moderates occupied CEC positions. But the new line-up 'suggests that the moderate ascendancy during the May General Election was but a false dawn', he said.

In the run-up to the election, the SDP started playing down its erstwhile activist image and projected a more accessible, moderate tone. It also moved away from human rights advocacy and put more emphasis on bread-and-butter issues.

The new CEC line-up shows that a human rights agenda is still central to the party's philosophy, noted political analyst Derek da Cunha.

Mr Au, however, pointed out that, unlike some other SDP members, Dr Wijeysingha and Mr Jufrie, while holding strong views on human rights issues, are not known to advocate public demonstrations.

Dr Wong Wee Nam, a medical doctor who follows opposition politics closely, believes the SDP is willing to continue the change that started before the General Election, and is aiming for 'gradual renewal'.

He said: 'This is not an issue of moderates versus hardcore supporters... I think the SDP is taking a long-term view, because if people are bogged down by day-to-day running of the party, they may not be able to spend time on more important things like socio-economic and health-care programmes, which they have to develop.'

Alex Tan Zhixiang says SDP is "more like selfserving pigs like the PAP"

Presidential explosion

The Real Truth about Tan Jee Say

I quote a letter comment posted by a Singaporean on various online forums.

August 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm (Quote)

Dear Fellow Singaporeans

In the interest of transparency and in the spirit of being the voice of conscience,
this to correct the false impression that is conveyed in the Sunday Times article about tjs.

Tjs has no moral righteousness, compass or anchor and blows where the winds of opportunity takes him. He quit as PPS when it became apparent that he would not become perm sec. Tjs is driven by greed and selfishness.

After quitting the government, he joined Morgan Grenfell, then Peregrine Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and finally AIB Govett.

When Morgan Grenfell came knocking, tjs jumped at the chance. He promised to bring in much monies from the Malaysian conglomerates which he came into contact with during his tenure at MTI. His results at Morgan Grenfell speak for themselves, tjs did not deliver the monies and his peers soon found that he was a light weight load of hot air.

Tjs had a contributory role in Bank Peregrine’s demise. He did not dispense proper advice that the investment into an Indonesian concern was not viable. Tjs, the person at the site did not do proper due diligence.

At AIB Govett, it was reported that his strength was in policy making. This firm collapsed whilst others survived, obviously tjs’s policies were wrong. This forebodes poorly on the potential for tjs to be EP as at every employment stop he has demonstrated poor judgement. Translate this into safeguarding our nation’s reserves and it will result in disastrous consequences.

Tjs’s next stops at Standard Chartered Bank and Hi Green is also empty of significant contributions. He was forced out of Standard Chartered by his Indian boss.

His claim to be ‘not a lavish man’ is not true. In tjs ‘high flying’ years, tjs openly boasted that his income tax contributions were higher than an average man’s annual income. Tjs aspired to the lifestyle of his successful PAP friends and his banking colleagues. Tjs had his fair share of thoughts about redeveloping his Frankel Avenue house into a mansion.

It is obvious that tjs squandered his wealth on ill conceived and dubious ventures in his empty years. If tjs had prudently invested his wealth, he would be fairly well off. This can be verified by any banker.

2006 till present, tjs was unemployable as by that time the banking industry had seen tjs for what he was, no substance and only hot air.

Let the people exam tjs’s empty years for themselves. And these were indeed empty as he was trying to chase his ‘China make money’ dream backed up by casual connections made when he accompanied government officials in China state visits.

There was the attempt at marketing Chinese breast enhancement drug treatments in Singapore.

His attempt to provide training of bank personnel also failed as tjs could not deliver what he promised.

There is also an erroneous reporting that Tjs’s wife was an investment banker. This is inaccurate. Pls verify which investment bank she was employed under. In fact, Mrs tjs abused her position when she was with their 4th child. NTUC Income would not grant her paid maternity leave so she took unpaid leave but traded on her information from the NTUC Income equity positions she managed to make money for herself. In what ever manner one looks at this, this is a conflict of interest.

Tjs’s selective use of reality makes him dangerous to Singapore.

Reporting tjs an independent candidate is also very wrong. He was brought up through the PAP system and for a time worked within the system when he was PPS to DPM GOH. In truth, tjs is a rogue PAP minion setting out his own agenda to revenge the wrong that he perceives the PAP has done to him under the disguise of public interest.

Tjs cannot claim to be a people’s man and have the Singaporeans’ interest at heart. For those who know tjs, tjs thinks highly of himself, is full of himself, highly opinionated, talks down to people. Tjs can no way be representative of Singapore’s President.

I feel that tjs does not have our nation’s interest at heart; tjs has an axe to grind with the PAP because he is disgruntled that his dreams of higher government office was not realized.

This is very dangerous and a threat to our country’s stability and because of this I feel strongly that when reporting on tjs the truth must be correctly reported.

Best regards,
The Real Truth"