The Workers’ Party is greatly saddened to hear of the passing of our immediate past Secretary-General, Mr Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, early this morning.
Mr Jeyaretnam’s commitment and contributions to public service are well-known.
After leaving the Subordinate Court judiciary as District Judge and First Magistrate, he went into private law practice, where he represented many clients of limited means, particularly in cases of public interest.
In 1971 Mr Jeyaretnam rejuvenated the Workers’ Party by becoming its Secretary-General. He then led the Party to contest successive General Elections since 1972. In the 1981 Anson By-Election, his 6th electoral contest, the voters elected him as the sole opposition Member of Parliament, rupturing the ruling party’s total control of Parliament since Independence. He was re-elected in the 1984 General Election with an increased majority. Even though he was disqualified from office in 1986, he remained committed to the cause of democracy and empowerment of the people, contesting in the 1997 General Elections as part of the Workers’ Party team in Cheng San GRC, thereby becoming Non-Constituency Member of Parliament until 2001.
Despite the difficult political environment under which the Workers’ Party operates, and bearing the brunt of the ruling party’s attacks as the Party’s Secretary-General, he led the Party through a number of crises and assured WP’s continuance on its political path.
Throughout the decades, Mr Jeyaretnam has remained unflinching despite the many obstacles he faced and the sacrifices made by him and his family.
The Workers’ Party mourns the passing of a giant in Singapore politics and sends its deepest condolences to Mr Jeyaretnam’s family on their bereavement.
LOW THIA KHIANG
30 Sep 2008