Kenneth Jeyetretnam criticised the Worker’s Party…but why?

“Whether WP have broken the law or not is irrelevant. They have done a tremendous disservice to the Opposition by giving the clear impression of being more interested in making money than in advancing democracy and reform or serving their constituents.

Under LTK and Sylvia, WP have become barely recognisable as an Opposition party more as a vehicle for their business interests.

JBJ will be disgusted”, said the Reform Party Chief.

Kenneth is not too far from the truth. In fact, his own brother Phillip Jeyetretnam (whom is on the independent panel for FMSS, Worker’s Party managing agent for the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council) is suing the Worker’s Party for “improper payments”.

Whether or not the Worker’s Party broke the law, is indeed irrelevant. They could have breached one of several principals: the law, a fiduciary duty or even a trust, depending on how one argues it. They will argue to the ends of the earth that they have done everything in good faith. In the eyes of a lawyer though, that is a horrible piece of excuse.

It is very difficult to prove faith, good or bad. By putting so much emphasis on faith, you might as well tell the voters that you’ve done something naughty and this is the only card you have left to play.

Then there’s money making.

Realise that Kenneth made a very broad statement? “…more interested in making money than in advancing democracy”. If you look at the Worker’s Party in totality, you’ll see that they’re made up of people with very good business acumen. Low Thia Khiang famously circulates name cards that announces both his business and his Parliamentary membership. Peng Eng Huat ran multiple businesses before becoming a full-time MP. Many of them have set themselves up as accomplished tutors, corporate lawyers and trainers prior to politics. Money making is in their blood.

One of the first rules of being a fiduciary, is that one must be disinterested in profit. It doesn’t matter what sort of gain it could bring you: for personal gain, for Party gain…for whatever gain, it is not allowed. You cannot breach this in good faith.

Joshua Benjamin Jeyetretnam had fought so hard for political ideals, for true democracy and he doesn’t care about ruffling anyone’s feathers – whether for his own party members and certainly not for the PAP. He was one of the founding members of the Worker’s Party who was in it for what he truly believed was the right direction for Singapore.

Indeed he would be disgusted if politics was used to disguise business ambitions and profit.

 

 

About the author

Tay Leong Tan

Tay Leong Tan is a collective of 3 writers. Tay, Leong and Tan. (Who were you expecting?!) We are enthusiastic about labour issues, economics and current affairs in particular.

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