Singapore GE2020: Reform Party will carry on the fight like the late JBJ, says its chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam

SINGAPORE – Pointing to his late father J.B. Jeyaretnam’s tenacity in fighting for a seat in Parliament, Reform Party secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam vowed in an e-rally on Wednesday (July 8) that he “will not give up” in his own battle for Ang Mo Kio GRC and for Singaporeans.

The late Mr Jeyaretnam, who was more popularly known as JBJ, was the first opposition politician elected into the Singapore Parliament after independence in 1965. Noting that his father had lost seven times before winning the 1981 by-election in Anson, the younger Jeyaretnam said: “I will not give up until I have made a difference… rest in peace dad, there are many of us here carrying on the fight, trying to make it right for your beloved Singapore.”

In his 11-minute speech, he also noted that the party’s proposal was “superior” to the ruling People’s Action Party’s (PAP) and that the Government’s economic package for the Covid-19 crisis was “inadequate”.

Reform Party team members Andy Zhu, 37, Darren Soh, 52, Noraini Yunus, 52, and Charles Yeo, 30, also touched on the issues that Singaporeans face, such as lower incomes and unemployment owing to the Covid-19 crisis, competition from foreigners for jobs, and the plight of the elderly working in menial jobs.

Party chairman Zhu said that there is “something not right in how the incumbent is managing our country”, noting that Reform Party’s plan includes introducing a minimum wage and suspending the goods and services tax till 2021.

The opposition party, which is contesting in Ang Mo Kio against the PAP team led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and also in Radin Mas SMC, has seen its election campaign littered with mishaps.

Only two members of the Ang Mo Kio team – Mr Yeo and Ms Noraini – participated in the party broadcast last Friday, as Mr Jeyaretnam is serving a mandatory 14-day stay-home notice after returning from the United Kingdom, while Mr Soh was ill that day and Mr Zhu was not allowed into the recording studio after “rushing from another place”.

All five team members participated in the e-rally, which attracted over 3,000 viewers,on the party’s Facebook page, with Mr Yeo, who became a meme after his Mandarin party broadcast speech, a clear favourite among the viewers with some requesting that he speak in Mandarin.

Reminding voters that they can love their country and still vote for the opposition, Mr Jeyaretnam, 61, said: “Don’t make the mistake thinking that the PAP is the same thing as your country because it isn’t. You can love Singapore and still hold your government to account.”

Singapore GE2020: Get full election coverage on our dedicated site here.

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