In 1988, I was working for Singapore’s then Inland Revenue Department in the old Fullerton building. One day, returning from lunch, I was approached by a very unkempt and unshaven old man dressed in shorts and a loud and colorful sports shirt. The poor fellow handed me a small news pamphlet, for which I offered him a tip. He refused the tip, and I continued to my office in the Fullerton Building.
Once inside, some of my colleagues noticing the pamphlet, asked me how I came by it. I explained that a strange looking fellow had handed to me as I returning to work.
My colleagues kindly laughed, and suggested that I throw the pamphlet away, as it was best not to be seen with it. They explained that the pamphlet was the work of an opposition political party, and that the fellow that handed it to me was obviously the highly respected (by some) J. B. Jeyaretnam.
I threw the pamphlet away, even though I thought my colleagues were making a joke —how could such a motley looking individual be considered as a serious political contender?
Later I was to learn that J. B. Jeyaretnam was the leader of an opposition party—and there were even some people that thought highly of him. Bazaar, I thought.
Now, like everybody in Singapore, I know that the J. B. Jeyaretnam, now deceased, is the father of Reform Party leader, Kenneth Jeyaretnam, and lawyer, Philip Jeyaretnam.
We have written a post entitled Incompetence, Bribery, Terrorism and Singapore’s Reform Party. It was about Balraj Naidu the Reform Party co-founder who was recently extradited from Singapore, and convicted and imprisoned in the U.S. for terrorist activities. The other co-founder is Kenneth Jeyaretnam who is now running for a seat in Singapore’s parliament on the Reform Party ticket.
Recently, we received from one of our readers an interesting comment concerning relationship of the terrorist, Balraj Naidu to both Kenneth Jeyaretnam and his father, J. B. Jeyaretnam.
If what our reader says is so, both of the Jeyaretnams come across as being more than a bit shady.
We think the allegations in our reader’s comment are believable and important—especially in light of Singapore’s coming elections and the questionable folly of Kenneth Jeyaretnam’s political aspirations.
A thorough research into the Reform Party’s development since its birth on 11/7/2008 will reveal his [Naidu’s] contrasting relationships with the Jeyaretnams, first the late J. B. Jeyaretnam and later Kenneth Jeyaretnam that would be of interest to readers here. He was a ‘still water runs deep’ kind of a fellow that had a chilling twist about it.
Soon after the Reform Party become a registered political society, he applied for a Deed Poll with J. B. Jeyaretnam to get his first name ‘Balraj’ changed to ‘Balldev’ without being able to offer a compelling reason. He was a client of J. B. Jeyaretnam in a cheating case and frequently visited the latter’s office at 18A Smith Street, which later became the Reform Party’s HQ. On one such visit he slipped a signed cash cheque for S$340K unnoticed in his case file and claimed later that it was inadvertently done. J. B. Jeyaretnam wondered if it was a test or an enticement. There were numerous other instances that led J. B. Jeyaretnam to suspect Balraj Naidu was up to something amiss. I understand that had J. B. Jeyaretnam not expired on 30/9/08 Balraj Naidu would have been removed from the party’s Central Executive Committee.
Balraj Naidu’s partnership with Kenneth Jeyaretnam was even more eventful. You may have read a letter in the Today Newspaper on 19/4/2010 from the ex-Chairman and Vice-Chairman, two co-founders of the Reform Party, its surviving leaders in the wake of J. B. Jeyaretnam’s departure, refuting Kenneth Jeyaretnam’s allegation in an exclusive interview that was published in the Today Newspaper on 8/4/2010 about their “poor management” before he “took over.” To date, Kenneth Jeyaretnam has never responded to the points they raised, obviously fearing there would be a disastrous backlash. One of those unequivocally referred to foul play at the Reform Party’s HQ on 26/4/2009 that saw Kenneth Jeyaretnam ‘become’ its Secretary-General. Incidentally, both of them, along with another CEC member, stepped aside instead of fighting back that would have spilled out to the public to dissolve the party prematurely.
A ‘Gang of 4’ spearheaded by this scoundrel Balraj Naidu executed a rowdy coup d’état that saw Kenneth Jeyaretnam seize the post of party Secretary-General that day. The other 3 who formed the gang were Edmund Ng who was awarded the post of Chairman, despite his total absence from the RP’s caucus since J. B. Jeyaretnam departed, till he resigned last week. There was also the landlord of Reform Party’s HQ James Teo who broke the door-lock securing the office in the absence of a tenancy agreement with the Reform Party. For this, Kenneth Jeyaretnam gave him the Treasurer’s post. The 3rd one was another misfit, co-founder of Reform Party and its initial treasurer, Ms Amy Liu who had resigned from the party 6½ months earlier after failing to put the Reform Party in quandary with the law by deliberately mishandling its funds. It is interesting to note that all these 3 including Balraj Naidu were legal clients of J. B. Jeyaretnam seconded to make the numbers to form the Reform Party. It seems Balraj Naidu had revealed in the raucous of 26/4/2009 that he had sold a ‘property’ to finance Kenneth Jeyaretnam so he had the right to make him Secretary-General. I wonder whether this is why Kenneth Jeyaretnam publicly pleaded after Balraj Naidu’s arrest that he is an innocent family man, a loyal confidant of his late father and that the whole of Reform Party would stand firmly behind him.
So, we have BALRAJ NAIDU, the common factor in two causes – killing two birds with one stone as it were – trying to defeat a sovereign Government by providing arms to its enemy, an outlawed terrorist group and partaking in the overthrow of a legally elected management team of a Registered Singaporean Political Society by unconstitutional means. He was found guilty by the Baltimore Court and has been sentenced to a 5 year prison term in the first instance. The irony is that, in the second instance, Kenneth Jeyaretnam and the Reform Party would be incriminated, not him!