Today I and Andy Zhu Laicheng, the Chair of the Reform Party. sent the following letter to the Editor of TODAY Online:
26 May 2020
1 Stars Avenue
On 24 May 2020 an article that in the online edition of your newspaper entitled “Members who resigned, were expelled ‘no big deal’ for Progress Singapore Party: Tan Cheng Bock”.
In the article your newspaper goes on to say:
“Back in 2011, the party founded by Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam saw a mass resignation of nine members”.
It is clear from the context that “the party” refers to the Reform Party. This statement is incorrect and furthermore clearly fits the definition of Fake News.
The Reform Party was founded by Mr. J B Jeyaretnam shortly before he passed away in 2008. I have supplied a link to the facts as stated by The National Library Board quote below from the National Library Board website HistorySG:
“The Reform Party is a political party in Singapore. It was registered on 18 June 2008 and inaugurated the following month on 11 July. The founder and first secretary-general of the party was J. B. Jeyaretnam, who was formerly the secretary-general of the Workers’ Party from 1971 to 2001.”
By publishing fake news, your article obliterates an important element of the late Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam’s legacy in founding the Reform Party. The employment of this fake news also damages the reputation of the Reform Party and that of the current SG, Kenneth Jeyaretnam in attempting to lower the status of both in the eyes of the public. The lie that you have published would lead any reasonable person to the assumption that the Reform Party is:
Not a democratic institution.
A vehicle for personal advancement.
The Reform Party did at its founding and still does hold an historic place in the annals of Singapore’s political landscape being the only party to have a fully democratic constitution. This was JBJ’s legacy and the reason for the name “Reform”.
After Mr J. B. Jeyaretnam’s death, Ng Tek Siong assumed the leadership of the party from the position of chair until a democratic leadership contest could be held. Kenneth Jeyaretnam was then elected by majority vote of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) to the SG position in April 2009 and has since fought robust democratic leadership contests for the role. Constitutionally Reform Party remains the only fully democratic political party without a cadre system in Singapore AND with the further democratic check and balance of term limits on the key officers. It is this fact that democracy can exist in Singapore, that you are attempting to hide from the public.
We require you to correct your mistake to avoid further damage to the party and to Kenneth Jeyaretnam’s reputation and to publish an apology forthwith.
If we do not receive an adequate response within 24 hours we will ask the Minister to issue you with a Correction Notice as provided for under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act.
Andy Zhu Laizheng
We await a response. If none is forthcoming in the next 24 hours we will ask the Minister to issue a Correction Notice under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act.