Dr Chee Soon Juan, the secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), revealed today that he was forced to change the venue for his upcoming book launch after a Government-linked campus, where the event was supposed to be held, abruptly cancelled his approved booking.
Dr Chee had initially rented a room at The Lifelong Learning Institute to hold the launch of his new book, ‘Never On Bended Knees’, on 26 Jan.
According to its website, the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) is one of two Continuing Education and Training campuses by SkillsFuture Singapore. SkillsFuture is a national movement, launched by the Government.
In a Facebook post, Dr Chee revealed that he contacted LLI about renting one of their rooms for the book launch in November, last year. LLI apparently emailed him and said, “Before we can advise you on the availability, we would like to find out more about the event that you intend to hold on campus. Please send us more relevant details on your event.”
When Dr Chee provided the details of the event, LLI replied and said that his event is allowed in their premises. Dr Chee proceeded to fill out the rental application and paid the rental in full.
The opposition leader did not hear anything from LLI over the next two months until he announced the book launch last Saturday. Days later, an LLI manager called Dr Chee and informed him that his booking has been cancelled.
LLI apparently claimed that the booking was cancelled since the event and the book do not appear to be “related to training, skills upgrading and lifelong learning for the workforce.” Noting that LLI cited this as the reason even though it has not read his book, Dr Chee said that he is keeping his options open, as to how to deal with this matter:
“The reason, he says, is that the event and the book “do not appear” to be “related to training, skills upgrading and lifelong learning for the workforce.”
“First, no one at the LLI has read the book. The decision seems to have been made based only on “appearances”. Two, why should a book discussing national issues not be regarded as relating to “lifelong learning for the workforce”?
“Such arbitrary decisions and last-minute cancellations by government bodies are troubling, to say the least. It does not speak well of the future of our country. I will keep my options open on how to deal with the matter.”
The venue of the book launch has been changed to the SDP’s office at 3 Ang Mo Kio Street 62, #02-30, Link@AMK. The launch will proceed as planned on Saturday, 26 Jan, from 2pm to 4pm.