An old photo of opposition politicians Chiam See Tong and J. B. Jeyaretnam (also known as JBJ) made its way round social media on Sunday (Dec 6).
Sharing the photo in a Facebook group titled ‘Concerned citizens band together for a better Singapore’, the netizen wrote: “I was casually on my phone yesterday when I stumbled upon an article on 红蚂蚁, where I saw this photo of two former MPs we all must be so so so proud of and grateful for”.
They wrote that both Mr Chiam and JBJ each went through a few years of being the only opposition Member of Parliament at one point of time, “with literally the entire opposition camp of politics on their shoulders”.
The netizen added that without the two men, the odds for Hougang and the other victories might not have been what they were.
“Even after facing lawsuits, expulsion from parliament and bankruptcy, JBJ returned in GE1997, and almost made it in Cheng San GRC”, the netizen added.
They wrote: “Even after suffering from stroke, and reaching 76 years old, Chiam See Tong did not consider retirement just yet and EVEN went out of his way to move to Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in GE2011 and attained a rather close and very much dignified loss”.
JBJ was the leader of the Workers’ Party from 1971 to 2001.
In 1981, he became the first opposition politician since Singapore’s independence in 1965 to win a seat in Parliament, when he defeated Pang Kim Hin of the governing People’s Action Party (PAP) in a by-election in Anson Single Member Constituency.
He left the Workers’ Party in 2001, was discharged from bankruptcy in 2007, and founded the Reform Party in June 2008.
He went to participate for the 1993 Singaporean presidential election but his application for the certificate of eligibility was rejected. He died of heart failure in September 2008, three months after founding the Reform Party, which is now led by his son Kenneth Jeyaretnam.
Mr Chiam was the second longest-serving opposition Member of Parliament (MP) after Low Thia Khiang, having represented the constituency of Potong Pasir in Parliament from 1984 to 2011.
Chiam was also formerly the longest-serving Opposition Leader in terms of total time served (1986–93, 1997–2006), as well as the opposition Member of Parliament (MP) (1984–2011) until the end of 2017, when former Workers’ Party (WP) then-secretary general Low Thia Khiang surpassed both of his records (Low served as an MP since 1991, and as an opposition leader from 2006 to 2018).
Chiam founded the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) in 1980 and led the party up to 1996, when he left the party to join the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) prior to the 1997 general election. He subsequently spearheaded the formation of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), and was its chairman and de facto opposition leader from 2001 to 2011.
“We all can never be adequately thankful for them and all that they have done for Singapore” they added, concluding their post. /TISG