“Leon Perera is no JBJ” – J. B. Jeyaretnam’s son blasts


Former Workers’ Party (WP) chief J. B. Jeyaretnam’s son, Kenneth Jeyaretnam, has lashed out at WP Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leon Perera in a blog post on Monday.

Referring to last week’s parliamentary exchanges between Perera and Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat, the Reform Party chief compared the insinuations Chee volleyed against Perera to his late father’s experiences in Parliament.

On the first exchange between Chee and Perera, where the two tussled over implementing a live video feed covering parliamentary proceedings, Kenneth said “Chee’s attack only served to demonstrate the complete control the Government have over the media monopoly,” before asserting that “Perera, like his other WP colleagues, gave Chee much too easy a ride over this.”

He blasted Perera even further as he analysed Perera’s second exchange with Chee and asserted, “It would be a mistake to see Perera as in any way shape or form taking on the role of JBJ as a tireless crusader for the people’s rights”:

“In another exchange the same day Chee insinuated that Perera should have declared his interest when he asked a question about e-cigarettes.  Chee claimed that since Henkel produces adhesives for cigarettes and Henkel is a client of Perera’s company that he would benefit personally.
“This insinuation reminded me of what happened to my father in Parliament. Within a few months of his election in 1981, he was referred to the Committee of Privilege when he asked a question about insufficient safeguards over the detention of drug addicts. After a referral  by Jayakumar, the man whose defamation suit mysteriously avoided Low and WP but bankrupted JBJ in 2001,  and the late Eddie Barker, the Speaker reprimanded my father for having bought the house into disrepute by failing to declare that he had acted for some detainees previously and succeeded in getting several of them released through habeas corpus applications.  
“Yet, as JBJ pointed out, the charge was absurd since he had no direct pecuniary interest in raising this issue which was one that concerned all Singaporeans.  My father referred to arguments he advanced before the Committee based on the UK Parliament rules which Singapore’s Parliament is supposed to follow. However, just as in his fake conviction four years later when he was jailed and lost his seat for something that was not an offence, he was reprimanded for something he was not guilty of.
“Chee’s attack on Perera mirrors that on JBJ thirty five years ago though in this case there was no threat to refer him to the Committee of Privileges. It would be a mistake to see Perera as in any way shape or form taking on the role of JBJ as a tireless crusader for the people’s rights.”

Kenneth continued to lash out at Perera and claimed that the WP member was full of “nauseating praise” for the ruling party and alleged that Perera’s “biography reads like that of a PAP candidate”:

“I took part in a TV forum just before the last election representing Reform while Perera represented WP. He started off by fulsome and nauseating praise for the PAP and called their election manifesto excellent, a strange choice of words for a member of the Opposition, at least in a democracy though not in Singapore where most members of the Opposition fawn over the PAP.
“His biography reads like that of a PAP candidate. He did PPE at Oxford as a government scholar before working for the EDB and later founding his own economics consulting firm. According to the firm’s website their client list includes many MNCs as well as Government agencies like NEA. One would not get that kind of client list in Singapore if you did not receive the approval of the PAP Government. Singapore is lauded by right-wing economic think tanks as some bastion of economic freedom yet the Government exerts overarching control over the economy and people’s lives.
“So maybe Chee was just sending a warning shot across Perera’s bows that the Government knew who all his clients were and that if he became too outspoken or asked too many inconvenient questions he might find that his client list would evaporate. I am sure that Perera will take note and his questions will become even more timid and focused on nonessential issues than they already are.”

Kenneth ended his post by referring to a conversation he had with WP deputy Secretary-General Pritam Singh and bemoaned that “we will never get a real democracy” with MPs from the WP who are allegedly wary of “going against the PAP too much.”

“I spoke to Pritam Singh, the WP MP and deputy SG, recently at a conference in  KL and he said that while he admired JBJ, who to quote his words was “like a meteor in the sky”, he had a wife and children to take care of like the other WP MPs and was not prepared to jeopardize them by going against the PAP too much. As long as this remains the case we will never get a real democracy. Things will only get worse.”

Read Kenneth’s full post here.


  1. History proves that Dr Chee Soon Juan has taken the footsteps of Joshua Benjamin Jeyaratnam as a tireless crusader for the people’s welfares
    Singaporeans should push Dr Chee Soon Juan and Kenneth Jeyaratnam into parliament house by GE2019
    Today, at 5 pm, I saw a Chinese senior citizen sitting in the middle of Upper Paya Lebar Road, in front of BLK 161
    When a man and a woman decided to lift him up and let him sit at the bus section, he spoke in Teochew that he has no money to survive! His right leg is wearing an iron support and he looks like in his fifties
    Sad to see that our senior citizens are attempting suicide! Where is our Swiss standards of living as promised by our ruling party in the year 2000 ???
    Will all the opposition party leaders stand united, otherwise how to win the votes of the 70% ???
    The whole world knew that there is no absolute democracy in Singapore, especially our President is selected even before the election campaign!
    Hope that Singaporeans will send Kenneth Jeyaratnam into parliament by GE2019, as he can fight for democracy like his beloved daddy, Joshua Benjamin

  2. The only solution to prevent suicide in Singapore is to implement universal basic income otherwise the suicide rate will rise
    Why our government is using our taxpayers money to give foreigners students at $2000 monthly living allowance but did not give such living allowance to our very own country fellow men???
    Why no opposition party fight for universal basic income to prevent suicide rate from rising ???

  3. why even fight for our rights if there was any. all controlled right.. just live within our means n move on. why fight a losing battle. stress da dei… majority is them .. let them chit chat n make money. but they say anything retort back with silence. . n a smile. walk away..

  4. I think we should stop drawing comparisons here. The problem we have is that we have opposition parties at each other’s throat trying to outdo one another. Please be reminded Kenneth that Singapore do not belong to you alone . It belongs to all of us . So do the right thing and fight for the people of the country. I assure you that you cannot do your legacy any wrong when you have your heart in the right place. Stop being so bitter.

  5. Hello Kenneth why are u so sore over LTK n now Leon Perera.I must tell u that u are no match to both of them in perspective as u n the Reform Party are no match to WP n I wud suggest that ur party shd fold up n stop making excuses.

  6. This is unnecessary debate. JBJ is a legend even the son cant match. Their generation were different class. Sadly he was nailed by ruthless regime n their media. I belief many Chinese rubbhished him because he is an Indian. They thought he is a talk cock Indian. In 1994 he was asking why pay so much. Many laughed at him. Today he is laughing at this people’s stupidity. Leon Pererra is a class by himself , much better than dozens of PAP Back benchers. Sinkies can find class in Tin Pei Ling n Grace Fu but not Leon. Why ? Just vote by logo ? Then PAP can put a monkey n win. Not too difficult in this kiazi society.

  7. Is he in sg? Or he only will appear in sg when general election is near without even going for house visits? Between his party and Pap. I shd spoil my votes den to give it to him no matter how much I dislike the pap.

  8. Kenneth should seriously try to understand why reform party is repeatedly failing and yet wp is continuously making small improvements. Not many people in Singapore wants the “true democracy ” he is talking about. The earlier he understands this, the better it is for him.

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