In remembrance of a Singapore Patriot – Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam (1926 – 2008)

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A Tribute to a Singapore Patriot – J.B. Jeyaretnam

Posted by jbjmemorial on October 1, 2008

With his legal background, calibre and oratorical skills, Mr Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam could have easily joined the PAP as a MP and perhaps even a minister earning an annual salary of a million dollars.

Instead, he chose to be in a lone fighter, a scion and a lion in Singapore’s hapless opposition, leading the struggle against a one-party state with all the odds stacked against him.

JBJ, as he is fondly known, first enter Parliament in 1981 by winning the Anson by-election, making him the first opposition MP in post-war Singapore. He won it again in 1984 before losing the seat a year later on dubious charges of fraud involving his party’s accounts.

He was in Parliament again from 1997 to 2001 as the best-loser under the NCMP scheme, but was forced to relinquish his post after being bankrupted by defamation suits lodged against him by PAP leaders.

In spite of the numerous obstacles placed along his path by the PAP, JBJ has never flinched from challenging them when the need arises. He will be the one and only opposition MP in Singapore’s parliamentary history to have stood his ground to debate fearlessly against the PAP juggernaut.

In June 2008, JBJ registered the Reform Party to press for reforms in Singapore’s electoral system. In August, he filed a charge in court against the government for denying the voting rights of Singaporeans by refusing to call for a by-election in Bukit Batok whose MP had passed away.

JBJ must have thought of entering Parliament soon through a by-election, but alas time is not on his side. At the Reform Party inauguration dinner, he made a prophetic remark that he has not much time left and urged the younger generation to pick up where he has left and continued from there.

Throughout his life, JBJ stayed true to his fervent belief that continued PAP dominance and control of the government is unhealthy for the long-term future of the nation and reforms are essential to democratize the entire system. He is a man of principles, a man of passion and a man of conviction.

We mourned the loss of this giant in Singapore politics. JBJ is a Singapore patriot, a true blue Singaporean who has sacrificed his life fighting for the rights of ordinary Singaporeans. No doubt the PAP will dismiss the relevance and contributions of a man who is a constant thorn in their flesh; but let us remember his legacy and pass it on to future generations.

JBJ, we love you and we are going to miss you very very much !!!!

Source: Wayangparty Club

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