Punggol East has fallen through the cracks: RP's Jeyaretnam

Reform Party chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam says the residents of Punggol East have been let down by the People's Action Party in his maiden rally on Sunday evening.

Speaking to a crowd of about 300 people, he said the Workers' Party also has not done much for residents since the last General Election at the single-member constituency.

"Punggol East has fallen through the cracks," said Jeyaretnam, who is among four candidates contesting the by-election.

"I will not promise millions of dollars but I have managed hundreds of millions of dollars," said the 53-year-old former hedge fund manager in the rally held under overcast skies at an open field in front of Blk 183C at Rivervale.

Eight speakers -- RP members Andy Zhu, Vignes Ramachandran, Prabu Ramachandran, Osman Bin Sulaiman, David Tan, Kenneth Jeyaretnam and former secretary-general of PKMS Nazem Suki -- also spoke to a lukewarm crowd of people in their 40s and 50s.

Campaigning under the slogan, "No More Broken Promises", Jeyaretnam -- the son of former opposition leader and Workers' Party leader JB Jeyaretnam -- himself made three promises to voters.

"I will move here to be in our community, I will be a full-time Member of Parliament and I will donate 10 per cent of my salary to our community," he said as he and other speakers made several references to his firebrand dad throughout his speech.

Party chairman Zhu said Jeyaretnam is a "chip off the old block" and he possessed the same courage fearlessness and sense of justice as his late father.

Jeyaretnam also spoke about the online threats his family has received, saying "only in the third world do these things happen".

"This morning I almost pulled out of this rally. Sometimes you must know when to get out of a fight. But police made assurances of safety for you and us. I remembered who I am -- the son of JBJ!" he exclaimed.

Reform Party volunteers were giving out flyers and flags during the rally. (Yahoo! photo/Alvin Ho)
1 / 27
Yahoo Newsroom
Mon, Jan 21, 2013 2:00 AM SGT


Engineer Ken Ramchand, 41, who was among the crowd, told Yahoo! Singapore Jeyaretnam brought out strong points for Singaporeans and is a good representative of Singapore as a whole.

"He's the right man, in terms of his background as an economist. He should be given a chance," Ramchand said.

Another rallygoer who only gave his name as Lim said if Singaporeans keep track of the political scene in Singapore, they should know who is better.

"Anybody can talk in parliament but who can really make changes for Singapore? We need better opposition candidates," the 53-year-old construction worker said.

"Even if the PAP lose this [ward], they will still have a dominant voice in the parliament," he added.

Also spotted in the crowd were prominent human rights lawyer M Ravi and independent candidate hopeful Ooi Boon Ewe.

Ooi told Yahoo! that compared with other candidates, Jeyaretnam spoke better than the rest and evoked comparisons with father.

"But you see the crowd, you know already. The crowd is a barometer," Ooi said.

Sunday's rally went ahead after a dramatic twist earlier in the day when the party had initially called off the rally because the safety of party chief and its supporters could not be assured.

At the time, it said the party was still in discussion with the Singapore police and Interpol to provide extra security.

But in a Facebook post shortly before 2pm, the party said, "The police have assured us that it's safe to attend the rally and security has been stepped up. So come along and don't be afraid".

After the rally, Jeyaretnam was more specific about the threats his wife and 16-year-old son, who are both living in London, have received.

"My son has received direct horrific and obscene emails with threats of castration and actual death threats. These were sent directly through his email," he said.

"My son is obviously very upset. It's a horrific thing for a 16-year-old to receive. The police in London are taking it very seriously and they immediately took him into police custody," he added.

He clarified that he has made three police reports since Friday. Two on threats against him and his family and one on an act of vandalism after a broken flower pot was found on the steps outside the Reform Party headquarters at Smith Street.

He also said he had cancelled his planned walkabout on Sunday morning because he was with police until 2am the night before.

On Friday, Jeyaretnam filed a police report after receiving messages "tantamount to death threats" against him and his family.

Related stories:

No strong alternatives by WP since being elected to Parliament: PM Lee

Bright future for PAP's Dr Koh?
'I know what it's like for a family to struggle'
SDA's Desmond Lim defends youth volunteers
RP's Jeyaretnam files police report
  • COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more 3 hours ago
    COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are … Continue reading →

  • Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future 5 hours ago
    Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future

    It’s more than just its inherent speed, or the whooshing noise that fills the cabin like a school choir jamming with James Hetfield. It’s what it represents in an industry full of skeptics. It’s a portal into the future – a time capsule left by some mad scientist born decades too soon. It’s something that shouldn’t exist. And yet it does.

  • 919 reasons to love: Flickr photo of the day 7 hours ago
    919 reasons to love: Flickr photo of the day

    We've brought you the drive video of the $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder -- an 887-hp hybrid supercar with two electric motors working in harmony with a big 4.6-liter V-8. But how about this? Porsche's hybrid Le Mans racer -- the 919 Hybrid, sent to us by Kevin Leech. Get on board with electrification, folks. Because it's taking over the world.

  • Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers
    Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers

    Singaporeans on social media reacted angrily to news that tissue sellers at hawker centres and street corners are being required to pay for an annual licence.

  • Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry
    Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    Heart-wrenching messages of fear, love and despair, sent by high school students from a sinking South Korean ferry, added extra emotional weight Thursday to a tragedy that has stunned the nation. Nearly 300 people -- most of them students on a high school trip to a holiday island -- are still missing after the ferry capsized and sank on Wednesday morning. Mom, I love you," student Shin Young-Jin said in a text to his mother that was widely circulated in the South Korean media.

  • Indonesia’s armed forces chief says “no apology” for warship’s name
    Indonesia’s armed forces chief says “no apology” for warship’s name

    General Moeldoko, the head of Indonesia’s Armed Forces, has clarified that he had not apologised for the naming of a warship after two Indonesian marines who had been involved in the 1965 MacDonald House bombing in Singapore.

Featured Blogs

  • COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more
    COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are … Continue reading → …

  • Alex Lloyd
    Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future

    It’s more than just its inherent speed, or the whooshing noise that fills the cabin like a school choir jamming with James Hetfield. It’s what it represents in an industry full of skeptics. It’s a portal into the future – a time capsule left by some mad scientist born decades too soon. It’s something that shouldn’t exist. And yet it does. …

  • Alex Lloyd
    919 reasons to love: Flickr photo of the day

    We've brought you the drive video of the $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder -- an 887-hp hybrid supercar with two electric motors working in harmony with a big 4.6-liter V-8. But how about this? Porsche's hybrid Le Mans racer -- the 919 Hybrid, sent to us by Kevin Leech. Get on board with electrification, folks. Because it's taking over the world. …

  • Alex Lloyd
    Watch a man drive his three-wheeled Mustang along a Texas highway

    Some things in life are hard to explain, like why a dentist insists on asking you questions when you clearly can't respond. Or why we call pants "a pair" even though it's just one. Or how about this puzzler: Why a person would drive their Mustang along a Texas highway despite it missing a wheel? Life is full of little mysteries, I guess. …

  • Aki Sugawara
    How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds

    “I didn't steal your car but I think my mom may have. It's a long story. I'll explain, but your car is safe and sound," read the flier posted in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a strange tale that began when Cheyrl Thorpe was asked by her daughter Nekisia Davis to dog sit her Pomeranian at her apartment, according to New York Magazine. …