By Tan Jee Say –
After nearly 2 weeks of to-ing and fro-ing, the Straits Times finally published my letter pointing out the factual inaccuracies and innuendos in their earlier article. I reproduce below my original letter and ST's published one. (Words underscored in my original letter were not included in ST's published letter, including reference to the distress that the article has caused to my family, relatives, friends and supporters.)
My original letter dated 27 July 2012 :
"I refer to the article headlined "Tan Jee Say faces eviction from Orchard Road base" (Straits Times 21 July 2012).
The headline and first paragraph of the article are inaccurate and misleading. I am not the tenant. The tenant is Chanson F&B Pte Ltd who has been served a notice of termination of tenancy on 3 August 2012. I am neither a director nor a shareholder of Chanson F&B. It is therefore not appropriate to say I face possible eviction. The word 'eviction' carries strong legal connotations!
Also your first paragraph "The Orchard Road base of former presidential candidate Tan Jee Say looks set to be shut down in two weeks' time because of unpaid rent" gives " the wrong impression to the public that Jee Say is the tenant and he may be facing financial difficulties which results in non-payment of rentals" as the editor of TR EMERITUS puts it here. ( This innuendo is uncalled for. I understand that the tenant has paid the rent arrears and the landlord, Singapore Land Authority, has withdrawn its earlier notice of termination of tenancy.) [These two sentences in brackets were subsequently added in by me.] Leong Sze Hian and other bloggers have made similar and other points.
When active blogger Andrew Loh asked on his Facebook how I could face eviction when I am not a director of Chanson F&B, your reporter Tessa Wong replied that I am a subtenant and therefore face similar eviction as the master tenant. For the record, I am also not a subtenant. I was interested in using the place to set up a centre for policy discussion and community activities, but I did not proceed with it following queries from the landlord.
Your article has caused much distress to my wife, me and our families, relatives and friends. In view of my public profile, the ramifications are extensive and go far beyond my immediate circle of family and friends. Many of my supporters have also expressed concern. To correct the mis-impression that your article has created, I request that you publish this letter in your newspaper, giving it similar and equal prominence as your earlier article and heading. As time is of the essence, I would appreciate it if you would do so soonest possible. Thank you.
Tan Jee Say "
At one stage of the to-ing and fro-ing, ST kindly reminded me that my wife is an equal shareholder of the tenant company. I requested that if ST wanted to put in this rejoinder, then in the interest of completeness, it should also remind its readers that Mrs Tan is not a director of the company which has only one director Mr Ng Meng Khoon and he makes the business decisions for the company.
In a similar vein, I would also kindly remind ST and its readers, by way of example, that Temasek Holdings is more than an equal shareholder (owning about 54%) of SMRT Ltd which has its own Board of Directors responsible for making business decisions; but does this mean that there is a link between the spouse/husband of the CEO of Temasek Holdings (as the largest shareholder) and the business decisions of SMRT and its problems by the mere fact of the spousal relationship? Hence in this context, I expressed the hope that ST would reconsider the need to include a reminder that Mrs Tan is an equal shareholder of Chanson F&B. As it turned out, ST did not put in any rejoinder.
ST's edited version published on 10 August 2012:
"I REFER to the article ("Tan Jee Say faces eviction from Orchard Road base"; July 21).
I would like to point out that I am not the tenant. The tenant is Chanson F&B Pte Ltd, which was served a notice of termination of tenancy last Friday.
I am neither a director nor a shareholder of Chanson F&B. It is therefore factually incorrect to say I face eviction. The word "eviction" carries strong legal connotations. For the record, I am also not a sub-tenant. I was interested in using the place to set up a centre for policy discussions and community activities, but I did not proceed with it following queries from the landlord.
The article's first paragraph – "The Orchard Road base of former presidential candidate Tan Jee Say looks set to be shut down in two weeks' time because of unpaid rent." – also gives the wrong impression to the public that I may be facing financial difficulties and therefore unable to pay rent. I understand that the tenant has paid the rent arrears and the landlord, the Singapore Land Authority, has withdrawn its earlier notice of termination of tenancy ("Tan Jee Say won't use Orchard building"; last Saturday).
TOC thanks Tan Jee Say for his contribution. The article first appeared on his Facebook here.