Translated by Donaldson Tan
This is a non-verbatim translation of a Lianhe Zaobao report 《为革新党顺利加入民联 詹时中委亲信任民联秘书长》 dated 11 Oct 2010 by journalist Yew Lun Tian.
In order to facilitate the entry of the Reform Party (RP) into the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), Mr Chiam See Tong, Secretary-General of the Singapore People’s Party (SPP), decided recently that Mr Desmond Lim should be replaced as the Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Alliance. However, this decision is subjected to approval by the Supreme Executive Council of the Singapore Democratic Alliance.
According to sources, during a Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting held last Sunday (3 Oct 2010), Mr Chiam motioned for the removal of Desmond Lim as the Secretary General of SDA, on grounds that Mr Lim not only objected the Reform Party’s (RP) entry into the SDA, but also Mr Chiam can no longer get along with Mr Lim. Madam Luo Wenli (Mrs Chiam) then proposed that Mr Mohammad Hamim Aliyas to succeed Mr Lim as the Secretary-General of the SDA. Both proposals were subsequently approved by the CEC.
This is the second SPP CEC meeting since the SPP Ordinary Party Conference (OPC) that took place in July 2010. The latest developments within the SPP reflects the continued leadership tussle after the political drama that took place at the OPC. At the OPC, Mr Lim fell out with the Chiams openly. In a bid to strengthen themselves, each camp not only brought their respective supporters at the OPC, each camp also attempted to elevate the status of some supporters to cadres, so that their supporters can vote at the OPC.
CEC appointments were decided at the first CEC meeting after the OPC. The first SPP CEC took place a month after the OPC. As expected, Mr Lim lost his position as the Assistant Secretary-General of the SPP. However, Madam Luo was appointed as the 2nd Vice-Chairperson of the SPP. The steps taken by Mr & Mrs Chiam to reduce Mr Lim’s influence were already within anticipation of members of the Singapore Democratic Alliance.
However, even if the other component parties of SDA agree to the replacement of Mr Lim by Mr Hamim, it does not necessarily means they will agree to RP joining the alliance. It is expected that RP’s entry will lead to more leadership change within the SDA. It would be impossible for the SPP to continue to hold the 2 most important appointments in the SDA – Chairperson and Secretary-General.
The SPP is currently the biggest member party of the SDA while Mr Chiam is the Chairman of the SDA. National Solidarity Party (NSP) originally held the Secretary-General post in SDA. However, since its departure in 2007, Mr Lim took over the post. Mr Hamim, who has been following Mr Chiam for past 23 years, is also one of SPP’s founding members.
Prior to joining the SPP, Mr Hamim was a member of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). When Mr Chiam and the then Secretary-General Dr Chee Soon Juan were struggling for the leadership of the SDP, he, Mr Sin Kek Tong and about 10 members quit SDP to found SPP. Mr Chiam was a SDP Member of Parliament at that time. They formed the SPP to wait for the expiry of Mr Chiam’s parliamentary membership under the SDP banner.
Hamim supports the inclusion of the Reform Party
During General Election 2006, Mr Hamim contested together with Mr Lim under the SDA banner at Pasir-Ris-Punggol GRC. He expressed his support for RP’s inclusion into the SDA.
“I often tell Mr Chiam that the opposition must be united. The more opposition parties to join the SDA, the better it is. The Reform Party’s ‘points of agreement’ deserve evaluation. However, we should agree in principle that the RP should join the SDA,” said Mr Hamim in a press interview.
The Reform Party is led by Kenneth Jeyaretnam, the eldest son of the late Opposition stelwart Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam.
However, Mr Lim said: “It is very shallow thinking to conclude that my removal from the SDA Supreme Executive Council would facilitate RP’s quick entry into the SDA. This is because the SDA is not just the SPP.”
Mr Lim also pointed out during a SDA Supreme Executive Council meeting in May 2010, the votes were 8:3, in favour of the rejection of the RP. He abstained then, so as not to vote against his party’s position. The Singapore Malay National Organisation (PKMS) and the Singapore Justice Party (SJP) voted against the inclusion of the RP while the 3 supporting votes for the inclusion of RP came from SPP’s ranks. In another words, opposition to RP’s entry still remains inside the SDA, with or without Mr Lim as SDA’s Secretary-General.
Mr Mohd Nazem Suki, Secretary-General of PKMS, said that the PKMS is still awaiting for Mr Chiam to convene the next meeting of the SDA Supreme Executive Council. In August 2010, the PKMS held held an election for renewal of its CEC, whereby new PKMS representatives to the SDA were selected. The new representatives are awaiting approval by the SDA Supreme Executive Council.
Mr Suki and Mr Lim have already proposed to Mr Chiam a date for the next meeting of the SDA Supreme Executive Council. However, Mr Chiam has yet to decide on the date. On SPP’s decision to replace Mr Lim, Mr Suki and Mr Aminrudin (Secretary-General of SJP) said they will only comment after discussions with the SDA Supreme Executive Council.
Original Mandarin Transcript from Lianhe Zaobao
(2010-10-11) 游润恬 报道
据党员透露，人民党中央执行委员会上星期天开会时，詹时中当时以林睦荃(42岁)反对革新党加盟，以及无法与林睦荃在民联相处为由，提议免去他的民联秘 书长职位。他的妻子罗文丽(61岁)随着提议让莫哈末哈敏(Mohamad Hamim Aliyas)接替林睦荃。这两项提议都获得中委会通过。
马来民族机构秘书长莫哈默纳齐姆(Mohd Nazem Suki)指出，他的政党八月举行中委选举后，也委任了在民联的新代表人选，目前还在等待詹时中召开会议批准这些新人选。