Everything you wanted to know about the Reform Party

This is the first in a series of articles going through the parties contesting in the General Elections.

Today, our favourite (when cooked) Blur Sotong has returned to ask questions because he lost his way while trying to attend the unveiling of RP’s candidates in Ang Mo Kio.

Say hello, Mr. Sotong.

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1. Blur Sotong: Eh I hear a lot about this RP ah, I thought RP is Republic Poly?

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No, you blur head.

RP stands for Reform Party, a party founded in 2008 by the late Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam (JBJ) shortly before his death. His eldest son Kenneth joined the party after that and led RP in the 2011 General Elections.

Philosophy: “That every member of the society is born with fundamental rights which cannot be abrogated… and that it is the paramount duty of the society to promote the human dignity of its every single member.

2. Blur Sotong: Who’s JBJ and is he someone I should take note of?

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JBJ was a lawyer and formerly part of the Workers’ Party which took a single seat in Parliament back in 1981 — the first time ever for an opposition party since the PAP won majority after independence.

After a series of events which ultimately led to his bankruptcy and discharge, he formed the Reform Party to get back into politics, but succumbed to heart failure before he could contest in an election.

He is fondly remembered as a champion of the opposition parties and opposed the Government and the PAP right until his death.

3. Blur Sotong: Is RP like PAP?

No. They are a liberal-democratic party who believe in a ‘true’ and free democracy centred around human rights and freedom of expression.

4. Blur Sotong: Hmmmmmm, okay. That sounds interesting. How will they run Singapore if they are elected?

  1. They want to be the voice for the less fortunate members of society.
  2. They believe that the government should serve the people and there should always be transparency and accountability.
  3. They feel the welfare of Singaporeans should be at the heart of government policy, and they feel that they are able to raise incomes and thus the quality of life of society via redistributing wealth.
  4. They want reform in all areas – political, constitutional, economic. Maybe they’ll change their name once said reforms are completed.

5. Blur Sotong: Where will they be standing in the upcoming general election?

They will be contesting a total of 11 seats. These 11 seats are shared among 2 Group Representation Constituencies (GRC) and 1 Single Member Constituency (SMC).

They will be contesting Radin Mas SMC, West Coast GRC and Ang Mo Kio GRC.

Ang Mo Kio GRC will be contested by the following:

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Roy Ngerng (1st from left) was previously a healthcare worker at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and a public servant who worked at the Health Promotion Board, where he was awarded Employee of the Year.

Jesse Loo (2nd from left) is a former banker with a Bachelor of Business in Economics, Marketing and Social Asian Politics.

Osman Sulaiman (3rd from left) is currently a business director at an interior design company and will be a full-time MP if elected.

M. Ravi (4th from left) is a lawyer who graduated from the University of Cardiff in United Kingdom (UK). Prior to that, Ravi graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a degree in Political Science and Sociology.

Siva Chandran (5th from left) is a film editor who edited the Singapore feature Film Titled “My Magic” (Tamil). It was the 1st Singapore film ever to be nominated for the prestigious Palme D’Or, the top award for film in Cannes and was also selected as Singapore’s official entry for the Oscars 2009.

Gilbert Goh (1st from right) meanwhile, started the non-government organization (NGO) Transitioning Unemployment Support Services (TUSS) in 2009 to provide counselling, coaching and support group services to local unemployed professionals free of charge.

Here’s their West Coast GRC team:

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Kenneth Jeyaretnam will be fielding himself in West Coast GRC along with RP chairman Andy Zhu, customer service executive Noraini Yunus, and real estate firm manager Darren Soh. RP had previously contested in West Coast GRC in 2011, garnering 33.43% of votes.

Kumar Appavoo, who contested in West Coast in 2011 is contesting on his own in Radin Mas SMC, part of which was in the defunct Anson constituency where JBJ won in 1981.

6. Blur Sotong: I don’t know anyone from RP. Who should I look out for during rallies?

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Kenneth Jeyaretnam (left in picture) is the secretary-general of RP and its most recognised member after JBJ; he also currently leads the party.

Other prominent faces in RP include Roy Ngerng (blogger) and M. Ravi (lawyer) – both of them joined RP to contest in Ang Mo Kio GRC, where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is an MP.

Roy Ngerng is currently in trouble for writing articles considered defamatory to the PM, while M. Ravi was suspended from practice in February over concerns about his bipolar disorder.

On the flipside, Ngerng’s articles about the CPF have contributed to the Government clarifying doubts about the system, while M. Ravi is a human rights activist who has defended numerous criminals facing death row.

Plus, M. Ravi’s walkabouts are bloody entertaining. His main reason for joining RP was JBJ – he saw him as an inspiration.

7. Blur Sotong: Is there anything else I should know about?

Well…there’s this.

They have an eBay link for their merchandise but no items are displayed.

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8. Blur Sotong: Eh I know I’m blur la, but even I know that doesn’t have anything to do with the Election!

Just a fun fact. Don’t angry la, later I make sambal sotong out of you then you know.

9. Blur Sotong: Where can I follow them online?

Facebook

Twitter

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Featured image via Reform Party
With references from The Straits Times, Reform Party, Channel NewsAsia, The Straits Times, Reform Party