Dr Chee Soon Juan, the head of Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) met with Pastor Vincent Lun of Kingdom Community Church (KCCV) on Tuesday, February 26, along with SDP Organising Secretary Jufri Salim.
According to a statement from SDP, Mr Lun apologised on behalf of KCC Ventures.
On a Facebook post, Dr Chee wrote: “the SDP has decided to accept KCCV’s apology and we consider the matter closed.”
The chairman of SDP, Paul Tambyah, said on Saturday, February 23, that the party’s kickoff had been scheduled for that day at SLV Hub events space in Eunos, which is managed by KCC Ventures (KCCV).
However, he said that SDP was told a mere 24 hours before the event that KCCV had canceled SDP’s booking, citing the reason that political events were not allowed at the venue, even if KCVV was aware of the nature of the event from the time it had been booked.
Meanwhile, SDP also announced on its website that the cancellation of their booked kickoff at Eunos was also due to a “JTC inspection.” JTC is the landlord of the building where the event was supposed to take place.
However, JTC said on its Facebook page that it was “factually wrong to link the cancellation with JTC’s inspection” since “JTC had no prior knowledge of the above SDP event.”
Furthermore, JTC maintained that KCCV had been told on February 8 that an inspection would be made on 28th of the month, not on February 23, the date of SDP’s kickoff event. JTC said that their inspections into unauthorised subletting activities had begun late in 2018.
SDP found another venue to hold their event, at “a bigger and grander venue at Mandarin Orchard,” according to its website.
However, the rental costs for Mandarin Orchard was three times what the Party would have paid for the event at Eunos.
KCCV cleared the misunderstanding in a statement released on Tuesday by explaining that while they were fully aware that the venue had been booked for SDP’s campaign kickoff, and had indeed scheduled and received payment for it, they had failed to get approval from both the board of KCCV and the landlord of the building.
The board, the statement said, only learned about the SDP booking on Friday, February 22.
This is why the booking was cancelled.
KCCV added that one of its employees had mistakenly attributed the cancellation to the scheduled JTC inspection, via an email to the Party.
The Straits Times reports that the company apologised both to SDP and JTC.
According to the statement from SDP, when Mr Lun met with Dr Chee and Mr Jufri, “Mr Lun apologised again on behalf of KCC Ventures and said that there was no sugar-coating the matter – it was wrong on their part to have cancelled the SDP’s event on 23 Feb the day before and accepted full responsibility over the matter.
He also compensated us for the expenses incurred as a result of the change in venue.
The SDP has decided to accept KCCV’s apology and considers the matter closed”
However, the Party is still expecting an apology from JTC.
“That leaves the other outstanding issue with the JTC who had wrongly accused the SDP of being ‘totally irresponsible to conflate this issue with the on-going investigations’ of the KCCV’s premises.
As can be seen from KCCV’s statement, it was KCCV who had drawn JTC into the matter – not the SDP. In its statement, the KCCV said that ‘The fault lies solely with us’. The organisation has done the right and decent thing and apologised for its error.
We expect the JTC to also do the right and decent thing and await its apology.”
Dr Chee shared his insights from the incident on his Facebook post: I want to highlight a couple of learning moments from this unfortunate incident.
“First, our fellow Singaporeans must not discriminate against opposition parties. After all, it is the people for whom we are speaking up. We may not have the same views as the PAP in politics but we are Singaporeans too. We are as much a part of this country as the PAP.
In fact, given the way that the opposition has been and continues to be treated by the ruling party, it is all the more important that Singaporeans stand up for the opposition. When I say Never On Bended Knees, it is not an announcement of arrogance but a call to courage, courage to do what is right and just and not kneel before the altar of profit and power.
Second, let us treat those whom we deem have wronged us with magnanimity especially when we are in positions of power. We don’t have to pursue everything in court and exact our pound of flesh. I’m always reminded of the wisdom: For what profit a man to gain the whole world and, yet, lose his soul?”
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