JBJ: The People's Defender

Posted by Sinapan Samydorai under Editorial on 30 September 2008

Think Centre joins the nation in mourning the loss of Singapore's indomitable lion in politics today. Veteran opposition MP and former Secretary-General of Workers' Party (WP), Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam or JBJ as we fondly know him as, died of heart failure at the age of 82.

JBJ: The People's Defender, Singapore's Indomitable Lion

Think Centre joins the nation in mourning the loss of Singapore's indomitable lion in politics today.

Veteran opposition MP and former Secretary-General of Workers' Party (WP), Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam or JBJ as we fondly know him as, died of heart failure at the age of 82.

JBJ received his training in law and was at his element as a Magistrate before deciding to answer the nation's call for political service. JBJ became the first opposition member to break the People's Action Party (PAP) monopoly in Parliament.

A people's politician, his genuine care and concern for the welfare of the working class swept him to a Parliamentary seat when he defeated the PAP's Pang Kim Hin and the United People's Front's Harbans Singh at the Anson By-Elections of 1981.

His stint in Parliament was riddled with fiery speeches, cutting questions and most of all, a clarion check and balance on the overwhelming PAP domination. On the other hand, his robust and bravado style of politics also attracted detractions in the form of mis-appropriation charges and libel suits initiated by his political opponents.

Yet JBJ never succumbed or buckled under such political duress. He came back in style to lead the 5-member WP team who contested Cheng San Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in 1997 and garnered 45.18 per cent of the votes (against the PAP's 54.82 per cent). Nearing causing a political tsunamis, he went on to become Non-Constituency MP and continue his fight for the people in the corridors of power.

For his other passion in fighting for the human rights of the people, Think Centre honoured JBJ with the inaugural Singapore Human Rights Defender Award in December 2003.

We were eager with anticipation as having finally discharged his bankruptcy debts, JBJ came back once more from political doldrums to form the Reform Party in July 2008.

Alas we would never see the venerable lion take up the vanguard in opposition politics ahead, but in his strong beliefs, stubborn resilence and heart for the people of Singapore we shall find the beacon and courage to continue working for a more caring and sharing society, in this place we call Singapore.

Think Centre sends its deepest condolences to Kenneth, Phillip and their loved ones in this hour of mourning. Our hearts and minds are with all who will dearly miss Singapore's most recognisable human rights defender and most revered indomitable lion - the man we call JBJ.

J.B.Jeyaretnam: Defender of Human Rights

Jeyaretnam trials and tribulations

Singapore remembers opposition leader JBJ

Sinapan Samydorai
Think Centre

Sources and Relevant Links:

The Star Singapore opposition stalwart JB Jeyaretnam dies 30 September 2008

Straits Times Jeyaretnam dies 30 September 2008

ABC News Singapore remembers opposition leader JBJ 1 October 2008

ABC News Unlikely tributes for Singapore's opposition icon 2 October 2008

Background Information

07 February 2001 JBJ Declared A Bankrupt

22 February 2001 JBJ Press Release

12 March 2001 Save An Old Warrior From Ruin

21 March 2001 Why JBJ must be saved?

25 April 2001 All Permits Approved for Save JBJ Rally

23 April 2001 Media Release By JBJ

03 May 2001 God Willing, I Shall Be Participating In The Next Elections

26 July 2001 It's a Scene Straight from the Merchant of Venice

23 August 2001 No Justice From The Court

26 August 2001 Is There One Law For Lee and Another Law for Jeyaretnam?

16 July 2002 Opposition lack initiative: JBJ

17 September 2002 It is Not Only Amoral But Also Cruel

25 September 2002 An Open Letter to The Right Honourable the Prime Minister of Singapore

19 December 2002 Journalism was fairer 20 years ago

19 February 2003 "Will The Government Make its Stand Clear"

27 May 2003 Singapore: Increased medical charges


28-Aug-2003 Reduce cost of living and cut Ministers pay

19 October 2003 J.B.Jeyaretnam Calls for a Criminal Cases Review Commission

21 November 2003 J.B.Jeyaretnam: Defender of Human Rights

30 September 2004 Open letter from J B Jeyaretnam to PM

23 March 2005 S'pore: Judge orders man to mental institution

18 September 2006 Ban on activists attending the IMF/WB meeting

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