The Reform Party...deforms?

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, "In politics stupidity is not a handicap.” Is this what we witness now with the Reform Party? The chairman Tan Tee Seng was reported to resign last Friday. And since April 2009, there were other 2 chairmen leaving.

The Reform Party will soon deform? And yet the secretary general, Kenneth Jeyaretnam is quite exuberant & even eyeing "eyeing the West Coast and Chua Chu Kang GRCs and the three single seats of Hong Kah North, Pioneer and Radin Mas and a "possible" addition to that list is single seat ward Yuhua".

Secretary-general of The Reform Party Kenneth Jeyaretnam has confirmed the party's Chairman Tan Tee Seng resigned on Friday.

This follows the departure of nine other members from the party earlier this week.

Mr Tan is a businessman and former ex-ISA detainee arrested by the government in 1987 as part of a group of 22 alleged "Marxist conspirators".

Mr Tan took over the chairmanship of the party from Mr Edmund Ng less than three months ago.

He is the third chairman to leave the party since Mr Jeyaretnam took over as Secretary-general in April 2009.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Reform Party chairman quits".

Reform Party secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam on Friday confirmed chairman Tan Tee Seng's resignation from the Opposition party but did not disclose the reasons. Mr Tan, 51, a businessman, could not be reached by press time.

With his departure, three Central Executive Committee members remain in the party: Mr Jeyaretnam, Mr Mohammed Affendy Abdul Rahim and Mr Andy Zhu. The party's constitution allows for up to 12 CEC members.

Mr Jeyaretnam acknowledged that it was probably his "error" that RP expanded "too quickly". "But those who don't share our vision of forming an alternative government have left. We're stronger and more focused now," he said. Earlier this week, RP said it had "over 110 members".

Mr Tan, who was arrested in 1987 under the Internal Security Act as part of an alleged Marxist conspiracy, is the third chairman to resign since Mr Jeyaretnam took over in April 2009 as the party's secretary-general.

First, veteran Opposition politician Ng Teck Siong resigned, as he felt the fledgling party had strayed from the ideals of its founder, the late J B Jeyaretnam. Mr Edmund Ng, who took over, then resigned last December, after citing overseas business commitments.

Earlier this week, media reports cited at least 10 other members who had left RP.

Career counsellor Gilbert Goh, one of those who left, wrote on his blog: "Kenneth seems to be the main man in the party, and despite repeated denials, one couldn't help but believe that, ultimately, he'll call the shots. The fear that this is yet another one-man party is undeniably strong,"

Asked about Mr Goh's comments, Mr Jeyaretnam would only say the former had applied for membership, but it was "never made official".

From Today, "Reform Party chairman quits".

With or without an alliance with the Singapore People's Party - which is helmed by veteran Opposition leader Chiam See Tong - the Reform Party (RP) is going ahead with its plans to contest several constituencies in the western part of the island.

RP secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam, said the new electoral boundaries "overlap precisely" with where the party has been conducting outreach activities since 2009, "so residents generally know us very well".

According to Mr Jeyaretnam, 51, his party is eyeing the West Coast and Chua Chu Kang GRCs and the three single seats of Hong Kah North, Pioneer and Radin Mas. A "possible" addition to that list is single seat ward Yuhua, he added.

Mr Jeyaretnam said: "We're still talking with Mr Chiam but our preparations are going forward, and we're focused on the election."

Party member Alec Tok, 45, who identified himself as a "prospective" candidate when he met the media yesterday with Mr Jeyaretnam, added that "we don't actually have a need to work with other political parties because we have enough candidates".

Mr Tok, a theatre director, said the party was "in principle very willing" to work with Mr Chiam, either in West Coast GRC or Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

Mr Jeyaretnam predicted that elections would probably be held in April or May.

Referring to the party's targeted wards, he added: "I don't think we can ever be adequately prepared, given the ... limited amount of time we have. But we're making headway in these areas."

As for the recent mass resignations from the party, Mr Jeyaretnam said he was not worried about the impact. "We're talking to a lot of other candidates," said Mr Jeyaretnam, who added that nine new members were approved last night during the party's open house at its office.

From Today, "Reform Party looks West".


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