A dinner in memory of the first opposition member to be elected to parliament, Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam (JBJ), was held yesterday evening (27 Nov) at Ban Heng Restaurant in Harbourfront Centre.
The event organised by friends and well-wishers of the Reform Party was attended by several prominent members of the opposition and the civil society.
One of the keynote speakers for the evening was human rights advocate, M Ravi. Mr Ravi said in his speech that JBJ was the inspiration to a whole generation of Singaporeans including Mr Low Thia Khiang, , Mr Vincent Wijeysingha, Dr Chee Soon Juan and Ms Teo Soh Lung.
In his speech, Mr Ravi further claimed that JBJ was initially an admirer of Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and that he later turned a arch-nemesis of Lee due to his lack of regards for workers’ rights.
“In fact, he was initially an admirer of Lee Kuan Yew, who started out as a lawyer for labour claims and workers. What motivated him to join and revive the Worker’s Party was his observation that the Government was moving further and further away from giving and supporting the workers and their claims. And the erosion of basic rights of workers and society at large.” – M Ravi
Mr Ravi also described JBJ a man of true principle, grit and determination who truly believed that it was the duty of an opposition MP to check, question and hold the government to account. He reminded the audience that the powers that be didn’t like this and went out of their their way to destroy JBJ, even going to the extent of mocking him for raising issues such as human rights and freedom.