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Ex-SDA asst sec-gen responds to Straits Time’s article on his removal

This morning, TOC received a press statement from ex SDA Asst Sec Gen Desmond Lim, meant to 'clarify several omissions and even mis-representations' in a Straits Times article published on 12 Oct. We also learnt that the press statement has been sent to various other media outlets. Below is the statement in full.

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Singapore Democratic Alliance                                                                       Press Statement

13 October 2010

Response to Straits Times article “Chiam wants to oust ex-protege from top post”, (by Kor Kian Beng & Tessa Wong) 12 October 2010

I wish to respond to the article in The Straits Times, as mentioned above. This is to clarify several omissions and even mis-representations in this report, which may have inadvertently come from mis-informed, and thus unreliable, sources.

The article leads with and frames the issue as one of removing “a key obstacle” to the Reform Party (RP) in its intention to join the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA). This so-called obstacle is supposedly myself, Desmond Lim.

1.     From the beginning of this issue of RP joining the SDA, no consultations were ever made with the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) Central Executive Committee to even enter into negotiations with RP, much less reach any agreement on the “11 points” – a set of conditions which RP had imposed, and then taken into account by Mr Chiam See Tong.

2.     When Mr Chiam presented this proposal, anchored on the 11 points, for SDA membership by RP, he had not obtained prior endorsement and approval from the SPP central committee. Therefore as the then-Assistant Secretary General of SPP and thus a central committee member, I did not believe it was appropriate for me to support that proposal and I abstained on the vote to decide on this during the SDA Council meeting where Mr Chiam presented the proposal. In addition, as Secretary-General of the SDA – of which the SPP is a component party – I am not aware of any attempts by Mr Chiam to consult separately with the other member parties of the Alliance, prior to the Council meeting.

3.     The 11 points in the proposal are as good as “selling out” the SPP, and by extension the other parties in the SDA and the SDA itself, to RP. I believe I am not being alarmist nor exaggerating the issue when I say this. One only needs to read the points themselves to understand the conditions that RP was trying to impose.

4.     Last but not least, I am not against “Opposition Unity”. In fact, I have openly invited RP and other non-affiliated opposition or alternative parties to join the SDA – but with no conditions attached. This is because I believe in democratic principles, fairness, and transparency.

I hope that The Straits Times journalists who wrote this report, through the explanations above, will be able to rectify the framing of the issue in a future report. I seek to clarify my position as well as the situation, and that is what I have done.

I would also like the media, particularly ST, to give me a right of reply and publish this statement. I would be happy to meet with members of the media in order to give further clarifications.

Thank you.

With Best Regards,

Desmond Lim Bak Chuan
Secretary-General
Singapore Democratic Alliance

SDA and RP has yet to respond to the press statement. More updates to follow.