EDITOR’S NOTE: A total of 4 CEC members have resigned from the Reform Party, according to Mr Ng Teck Siong. I have also resigned (I was an ordinary member). My resignation was tendered via email to the Secretary General and the interim Chairman on the morning of 30 April 2009.
Written by Ng E-Jay
01 May 2009
Mr Ng Teck Siong, former Chairman of the Reform Party, conducted a press meeting at Speaker’s Corner on 30 April, at around 6.30pm, to explain the events surrounding his alleged ouster from the party, and discuss his future political direction. The press meeting was attended by around 20 supporters, which included former CEC members of the Reform Party who also tendered their resignations this week.
Mr Ng Teck Siong first read out his statement to the press, a copy of which is attached below this article. In his press statement, Mr Ng said: “I have been JBJ’s steadfast companion and right-hand man from the time we left the Worker’s Party in 2001, to the formation of the Reform Party. I have always seen the Reform Party as the embodiment of JBJ’s ideals and values. While I was Chairman of the party, I strongly believed that in addition to paying close attention to the bread and butter issues concerning all Singaporeans, the Reform Party should also seek to reform our political system and campaign for effective separation of powers between the legislature, Executive and Judiciary. Only when Singaporeans have been granted political rights can they effectively campaign for their economic rights.”
Mr Ng also said that he wished to rally his comrades in Opposition towards the common goals of fostering opposition Unity and delivering a credible and robust challenge to the PAP.
During question-and-answer time, mainstream media and alternative media reporters were very keen to know more about the disagreements between Mr Ng Teck Siong and the new Secretary General, Kenneth Jeyaretnam.
Mr Ng said that the new team in Reform Party was “weak and infirm of purpose”. He also expressed regret that “a mis-step had arrived”, referring to recent events leading up to the installment of Kenneth Jeyaretnam as the new Secretary General.
In a press release on 27 April, the Reform Party said that “a vote of no confidence in Ng Teck Siong as Chairperson of the party was passed by a majority vote of the CEC”. However, Mr Ng repeatedly denied this claim, saying: “There was no meeting.”
Further queries by reporters about the vote of no confidence were dismissed by Mr Ng, who said that he did not wish to dwell on past disputes.
Mr Ng also denied being ousted from the party, saying that he resigned on his own accord.
According to TOC who spoke to Mr Ng Teck Siong after the press conference, Mr Ng had called for an emergency meeting on 26 April, and that four items were on the agenda. However, the meeting could not proceed, and he had no choice but to call it to a close.
I also checked with Teck Siong after the press conference was over. He confirmed that after he closed the emergency meeting, there had been no further communication between him and the other CEC members who had crossed over to Kenneth Jeyaretnam’s side on Sunday. He had submitted his resignation letter on Monday morning, and up till that point, he was not even aware about there being any vote of no confidence against him.
“How could a vote of no confidence be passed when only 3 attendees signed the attendance sheet?” he asked, in reference to my question whether the motion of no confidence was passed on Sunday itself.
TOC reports that they are currently querying Reform Party on the vote of no confidence (see TOC’s report below).
Press Release By Ng Teck Siong
Dear fellow Singaporeans and friends from the media,
A very good evening to all of you. Thank you for taking the time to attend this press conference.
As you know by now, I have resigned as Chairman and member from the Reform Party.
I have been JBJ’s steadfast companion and right-hand man from the time we left the Worker’s Party in 2001, to the formation of the Reform Party. I have always seen the Reform Party as the embodiment of JBJ’s ideals and values. While I was Chairman of the party, I strongly believed that in addition to paying close attention to the bread and butter issues concerning all Singaporeans, the Reform Party should also seek to reform our political system and campaign for effective separation of powers between the legislature, Executive and Judiciary. Only when Singaporeans have been granted political rights can they effectively campaign for their economic rights.
After JBJ left us for a better world last September, I have been constantly searching for and recruiting the right candidates to take over the helms of party leadership.
The purpose of this press conference is not to harp on our differences in the party but to rally my comrades in Opposition to see if we can find common goals of fostering opposition Unity and delivering a credible and robust challenge to the PAP.
I will be keeping my options open for now, but at the same time, I hope to initiate new dialogues and open channels of communication with the other opposition comrades and supporters.
Today I want to pay tribute again to JBJ and the profound legacy he has left us.
Tomorrow we fight a new battle to win the hearts and minds of Singaporeans.
Thank you very much, and have a pleasant evening!
Ex-Reform Party chairman denies ouster
By The Online Citizen
30 April 2009
The former chairman of the Reform Party (RP), Mr Ng Teck Siong, called for a press conference this evening at Hong Lim Park to address the recent saga within his ex-party. Mr Ng, a long-time supporter of the late Mr J B Jeyaretnam, resigned as chairman of the RP on Monday, 27 April.
Mr Ng, who was allegedly ousted following a Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting, said he did not want to harp on the “differences in the party.” Instead he hopes to rally the opposition and foster unity and “delivering a robust challenge to the PAP.”
However, he could not conceal his criticisms of his ex-party colleagues, saying that the new team headed by new secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam – son of Mr J B Jeyaretnam, who founded the RP – was “weak and infirm of purpose.” Mr Ng expressed regret that “a mis-step had arrived”, referring to his alleged ouster, before the party under him could move to “the next stage”. When asked to elaborate, Mr Ng said the party was about to embark on preparations for the elections.
In a press release on 27 April, the Reform Party said that “a vote of no confidence in Ng Teck Siong as Chairperson of the party was passed by a majority vote of the CEC.” However, Mr Ng today repeatedly denied this. “There was no meeting,” Mr Ng told the gathering at Speakers’ Corner. He said he resigned from the party voluntarily and was not ousted.
Later, when contacted on the phone, Mr Ng explained that he had indeed called for an emergency meeting on 26 April and that four items were on the agenda. He did not elaborate what they were but said that at one point, he called the meeting to a close and left with two other CEC members. When queried if that was when the vote of no confidence in him was held, Mr Ng declined to comment.
Asked why he resigned from the party completely and not stayed on in the CEC or as an ordinary member, he said “the purpose behind it was gone.”
He said that the new leadership had deviated from the ideals, such as truth and justice, set out by its founder. Mr Ng also revealed that three other CEC members have also resigned from the party.
Mr Ng nonetheless expressed his best wishes to the new leadership of the party and wished Mr Jeyaretnam “a lot of luck.” He expressed his hope to work together with the Reform Party “in other forms if we cannot work within the same party.” He also said he hopes the new leadership will carry on the legacy of its founder, Mr JB Jeyaretnam.
Going forward, he said he has 3 options – to form a new party, join an existing party or run in the next elections, due in 2012, as an independent candidate. When asked if any of the opposition parties has invited him to join them, Mr Ng said “yes”, but declined to name them.
Asked if he should retire, Mr Ng said, “If it concerns Singapore’s future and I am healthy, why should I retire?”
*TOC is seeking clarification from the Reform Party on the issue of the vote of no confidence in Mr Ng.