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

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Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

JBJ on the role of the judiaciary in relation to the executive

Posted by jbjmemorial on October 12, 2008

“Good government, Mr Speaker, Sir, requires that government acts in accordance with the law. Government is not above the law. No one is above the law in a coutnry which observes the rule of law.

In a civilized democratic country, if the government acted above the law or outside the law, then it ceases to be a democractic government subject to the rule of law and it becomes no better than a mafia government.

And any issue, whether the Government has acted under the law, must be determined by the Judiciary, not be the Executive. Otherwise, the Executivve becomes judge and jury, master in its own cause, decides what is the law and whether it has followed the law or not. that is not the case wheter the Rule of Law prevails and in a country which professes to practise Parliamentary democracy.

Parliamentary democracy, by its term, implies that Parliament shall be supreme and the Government shall act under the laws passed by Parliament and shall be accountable to Parliament, not act as a law unto itself. There are absolutely necessary if we are to have any transparency or accountability in our system of Government.”

– JBJ, in a speech to parliament, 1998

 

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JBJ on the press as an institution of a democratic society

Posted by jbjmemorial on October 8, 2008

“The press is one of the institutions of a democratic society. Some people might say that it is the most important institution of a democratic society. It is, along with the other institutions, the guardian of the liberty of the people.

It must take it upon itself the responsibility to eke out any injustices, any wrong doings committed against the people or even one member of the society, and to speak out against it. “

– JBJ, in a parliamentary speech made in February 1999

 

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JBJ’s Anthem for Singapore

Posted by jbjmemorial on October 6, 2008

MAKE IT RIGHT FOR SINGAPORE

We got to make it right for Singapore

and let the people have their say once more

The winds have changed the art of blowing

a brand new spirit will be flowing

There will be love and care for everyone

There have been to many wrongs in this our land

But the power to change is in God’s hands

Singapore will have a new dawn

A proud nation cleansed and re-born

Once again we’ll have true liberty

It’s up to you and me to draw the line

and stand by rights that are truly yours and mine

Muster all the strength and courage

The world will surely applaud and encourage

a free and prosperous caring Singapore

Singapore, Oh Singapore, a free and caring Singapore

Singapore, Oh Singapore, how I love you my Singapore

How I love my Singapore, Singapore, SIngapore

 

The anthem was commissioned for the Workers’ Party and first sung at the Party’s Democracy Day Dinner either in 1985 or 1986. Mr Jeyaretnam was then the member for Anson. The party decided to hold a dinner every day to commemorate Democracy Day – 31st October 1981 – when Singaporeans got their first Opposition Member after 16 years. The first dinner was held in 1982.

 

Source: Make it Right for Singapore, Speeches in Parliament 1997 – 1999 by J.B. Jeyaretnam

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JBJ’s Parliamentary speech, 1997

Posted by jbjmemorial on October 5, 2008

“Mr Speaker, Sir, in 1954 when political parties that were then in existence went to London for the All-Party Conference to write a new Constitution for this country of ours, they were all unanimous in one thing, and that is, that our system of government should be a Parliamentary democracy. And what that means is that Parliament is supreme, that Government should be made accountable to the people through Parliament. And it is Parliament that should be asked to vote on all matters that concern the people at large.

In my first speech in this Parliament Mr Speaker, Sir, I spoke about this being the House of the people. That was not rhetoric, Mr Speaker, Sir. This is the House of the people. That was not rhetori, Mr Speaker, Sir. This is the House of the people. It is the House that the people will look to, as I said then, for the airing of their views, for their views to be heard and given adequate consideration. We pay lip service to the fact that SIngapore is a democracy. But it is forgotten that if we are a democracy, then it is the people who are the masters, and the House of the people (Parliament), as the agents of the people, should exercise the power of the people. They should, on behalf of the people, question all decisions of the Government, particularly decisions that affect and concern them very deeply.”

– Parliamentary all-party committee to monitor University fees and public utilities charges

 

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JBJ at Reform Party inauguration dinner, July 2008

Posted by jbjmemorial on October 5, 2008

“Come walk with me, for peace, justice and truth, fearing no one else but God”

– JBJ at Reform Party inauguration dinner, July 2008

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JBJ in an interview with the Malaysian daily, The Star, July 2008

Posted by jbjmemorial on October 5, 2008

“No government, anywhere in the world, can be so good that there is no need for an opposition. It is only in dictatorships where one man rules the country without an opposition”

 

– JBJ in an interview with the Malaysian daily, The Star, July 2008

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