I wrote sometime back that the Chiams were really verypetty people when they got real shirty about a photo of Chiam and Dr Chee. But Dr Chee deserves the “Mad Dog” tag by escalating the row into an attempted nuclear strike that turned out to misfire by calling a news conference where he distributed this document http://yoursdp.org/news/timeline_of_events_of_the_sdp_chiam_saga/2016-05-14-6121 which in my opinion called Mr hiam as a PAP stooge
I’ll comment on an important fact that the Chee document left out, and talk about a more mainstream narrative about the Chiam and Chee row that many moderate S’poreans in their 40s and above believe in, but which young S’poreans may not because they were too young or not around in the mid 1990s.
What the SDP document left out?
Why did Chiam want to discline Dr Chee? The answer is that Chiam realised the damage to SDP’s reputation that Dr Chee’s hunger strike (It last five days and it seems he cheated) and his public comments condemning the PAP for his sacking. to protest his sacking by NUS.
After initially backing Chee, Chiam became critical of Chee’s hunger strike and his public comments condemning the PAP for his sacking. He said Dr Chee had made his point and should produce evidence that the PAP got him sacked. Temember that Dr Chee never sued NUS or the PAP.
He knew that the public damage that Chee was doing to the SDP’s image as a moderate Oppo party
Chiam wanted to censure Chee for his comments, but failed and the rest u can read in SDP’s document and below.
A reader gives a reason for Chiam’s resignation, I never heard before
The SDP account says chiam’s resignation as leader occurred because of his failure to support Chee’s hunger strike; this is incorrect; the resignation occurred much later, over Chaim’s objection to Chee being employed by Bukit Gombak town council, under MP Lim How Dong who was SDP chairman at the time, and found nearly the whole CEC on Chee’s side.
The mainstream alternative to the SDP narrative.
Someone blogged this (https://thoughtsofrealsingaporeans.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/the-tale-of-ah-chiam-and-ah-chee-three-points/ which almost reflects what I was planning to say (I don’t agree with the last three sentences of the extract, though). So rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll quote.
The point he’s making is that Chiam had to resign as secretary-general to retain credibility and that Dr Chee was willing to lose a parly seat by seeking to sack Chiam.
Dr Chee did not address the crux of the matter – what were the circumstances then that forced Mr Chiam to quit a party that he founded, and did Dr Chee do right by Mr Chiam?
Here’s three points of rebuttal to Dr Chee:
- The way I see it, Dr Chee is playing with words. Dr Chee technically didn’t formally oust Mr Chiam as Secretary-General. There wasn’t an official motion to remove Mr Chiam as Secretary-General. But Dr Chee made things extremely difficult for Mr Chiam, and turned parts of the party hostile towards Mr Chiam. Mr Chiam was forced to resign as Secretary-General.
What Dr Chee did was akin to a company suggesting that an employee should leave and making conditions very harsh for him, and maintaining that the employee was not retrenched as he resigned voluntarily. Jialat, don’t even get retrenchment benefits.
It is clear from the news reports in the 1990s that there was fierce party infighting after Dr Chee joined SDP in 1992. There was a clear contestation of wills over the direction of the party. It is difficult to determine who was right or wrong, but the key personalities in both camps can hardly be absolved of any blame or responsibility. So why is Dr Chee trying to make himself seem innocent and wriggle out of it?
- It is ironic that Dr Chee said that PAP was trying to use Mr Chiam to destroy him, when Dr Chee was the one who tried to destroy Mr Chiam’s political career in the first place?
As if forcing Mr Chiam to resign as Secretary-General wasn’t enough,SDP (under Dr Chee’s leadership) tried to expel Mr Chiam from the very party he founded – a move that would make Mr Chiam lose his Potong Pasir parliamentary seat. Luckily for Mr Chiam, the courts ruled that his dismissal from SDP was illegal.
There is a Chinese idiom called “赶尽杀绝”, which roughly translates to ‘eradicating/destroying completely in a ruthless manner’. Quite an apt description I’d say.
- So Dr Chee said that PAP has been using Mr Chiam. But hasn’t Dr Chee been making use of Mr Chiam as well?
He hijacked Mr Chiam’s party agenda and took over as Secretary-General. If Dr Chee had been honourable, he wouldn’t have joined Mr Chiam’s SDP in the first place given vast ideological differences. He would have set up his own party instead. But Dr Chee chose to take a short cut – by joining the biggest opposition party at that time (SDP held three parliamentary seats when Dr Chee joined), and forcing its leader out. Yes, like a fifth column.