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

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JB Jeyaretnam dies of heart failure

Posted by jbjmemorial on October 1, 2008

Singapore’s celebrated former opposition leader JB Jeyaretnam died early this morning of heart failure. He was 82.

Singapore-based Channel News Asia quoted Jeyaretnam’s son Kenneth as confirming the news.

Kenneth said that his father, a former secretary-general of the Workers’ Party, had complained of breathing difficulties at about 1.30am on Tuesday.

He was rushed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital but doctors were unable to revive him. He died of heart failure with both his sons, Kenneth and Philip, by his side, added the news report.

Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam was the man who finally broke the ruling People’s Action Party’s (PAP) 16-year monopoly in the Singaporean Parliament in 1981.

He was credited for building the Workers’ Party into the island republic’s leading opposition party.

In 2001, he lost his parliamentary seat after being declared a bankrupt for failing to pay the massive damages awarded to PAP members in a series of defamation suits.

A lawyer, Jeyaretnam believed the defamation suits against him were politically motivated to remove him from Parliament.

As a result, he was barred from standing in future elections, and was also unable to practise law.

Later, in October 2001 he left the Workers’ Party he had led since 1971.

After he was discharged as a bankrupt in 2008, he formed the Reform Party in July.

Light dinner with son

The family later said in a statement that they were overwhelmed with grief.

According to the statement by his sons, Jeyaretnam had spent his last hours at Kenneth’s Evelyn Road apartment.

“Earlier this evening he and I had enjoyed a light dinner and chatted and then he sat out on the balcony for a while before retiring,” said Kenneth in the statement, as reported by Channel News Asia.

The statement went on to say that the family was woken up at about 1.30am by Jeyaretnam who was “obviously in distress” and was rushed to hospital.

“But unfortunately the medical team working on him were unable to revive him despite their lengthy and strenuous attempts.

“My brother Philip joined me at the hospital and we were then informed by the doctor in charge of his care that he had passed away.”

In his book ‘The Hatchet Man of Singapore’, Jeyaretnam spoke in detail of the attempts by Singaporean leader and former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew to destroy the political careers of key Singaporean opposition leaders, including Jeyaretnam.

Source: Malaysiakini

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