Statement on Alex Tan and the Reform PartyPublished: 2nd September 2012
The Reform Party notes the recent statements in the press about Alex Tan and attempts by the Main Stream Media to link Alex Tan and his recent behavior with the Reform Party. These reports are inaccurate and misleading.
Mr. Wilson Sim, journalist from the Wanbao paper published a sentence in his Chinese language article, which can be translated as, “attempts to contact Mr. Kenneth (sic) and Mr. Alex were made but it was unsuccessful by Press time.” This has been widely interpreted as the Reform Party had no comment and no desire to comment, which is completely untrue.
Linking Alex Tan and his behavior with the Reform Party whilst simultaneously blatantly failing to mention his links and membership of the Singapore People’s Party are biased in the extreme. It is a deplorable exercise intended to prejudice public opinion and jump on any excuse to discredit the Reform Party.
For the record, Alex Tan was a long-term member of the Singapore People’s Party before GE 2011. He joined RP temporarily on loan from SPP, in order to be able to contest GE 2011 under the RP banner. He was an official member for a very short period. Before there could be any question of him joining as a permanent member we expelled him and cut all ties back in May 2011. He then rejoined SPP. Mrs. Lina Chiam welcomed him back and was quoted at the time as saying that, “he was like a son to her.”
We state this not in order to show the SPP in a poor light but in order to reveal the bias of the PAP government managed media monopoly. This is demonstrated here not just in their use of the weapon of denial of the right of reply -a fundamental freedom in any democracy- but also in their failure to accurately describe Alex Tan’s political affiliation.
Although his behavior and the language of the letter he wrote is deplorable we must say that Alex’s courage in standing is still to be applauded. RP at the time had stated its intention to ‘normalize’ democracy. As a first step in this it was important to bring the vote to as many people as possible. A tiny Republic where hundreds and thousands of the citizens do not vote in General elections is not a democracy. As the founder of the modern Day Olympics Baron Pierre de Coubertin said, “the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle -the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
179,0000 Singaporean citizens were given the chance to vote in Ang Mo Kio GRC thanks in part to young people like Alex Tan and RP’s willingness to field a team where no other Party would. We do not regret fielding that team, including Alex Tan but at the same time the decision to expel him and cut all ties soon after GE2011 was also correct. Since the election we have had no contact with him and have no relation whatsoever to anything that he has, does or indeed will say.
During our brief connection we found Alex to be an excitable and impetuous young man but one with fire and courage in his belly. He comes from a humble background and struggled to support a widowed mother. During the election the extremes of his behavior could be tempered by Party discipline and the influence of his more mature team mates. With the right mentoring, angry young men with ideas such as Alex Tan can find outlets for their frustrations and make important contributions to developing a robust democracy and an inclusive prosperity.
It only remains to note that Mr. Wilson’s declaration that he attempted to contact me is disingenuous. All journalists from all of our Republic’s PAP-government managed media have the use of an email address, namely: firstname.lastname@example.org, that gains a swift response. There are several other email addresses on record for the Party as well as the SG and the Chair. Whilst my personal mobile phone may well be switched off during meetings and at other times when travelling, email is the more certain medium.
In addition to email, Mr. Wilson is presumably familiar with technology such as Texting or SMS messaging. If he had needed to contact me personally for a comment as opposed to the Party I am on Twitter, Linked-in, Facebook by a public page, the comments section on my blog www.sonofdud.com and so on and so forth. Hundreds of people and complete strangers manage to contact me on a weekly basis. Indeed, a journalist from Wanbao recently attended my press conference about the IMF case, listed for a hearing in September although naturally this was not covered in their paper. All media representatives are automatically sent a copy of all Official Press releases as well as my personal blog articles.
Although we are a small Party, a David against Goliath, and cannot staff a full time office there are nonetheless no excuses for denying the Reform Party or myself the right of reply.
Despite our statement we have no expectations that the Main Stream Media will issue a clarification accurately describing Alex Tan’s affiliation with the SPP, nor an apology. This has been our experience for the last two years. We must ask ourselves how the decisions are taken in our sham democracy for which news item is more in the public interest and worthy of printing. Why is a tenuous misleading and inaccurate attempt to link a vulgar letter with myself newsworthy, whereas my recent discovery that the Auditor- General reported that the MOF breached the constitution and issued an invalid loan to the World Bank is not?
Finally the Reform Party repeats its call that it is time to break up the Monopoly and to abolish the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act.
The Reform Party