Straits Times: ‘Left-wing’ 200 break from the WP

By R. CHANDRAN


MR. NG HO
…former organising secretary

A BREAKAWAY group from the Workers Party announced yesterday that it was quitting the party and forming a new political organisation in Singapore.

The group said it had the support of 200 of the 554 party members including seven party candidates who contested the general election and three central councillors.

At a press conference yesterday it said that it represented the “left wing” of the party.

The group is led by the party’s former assistant secretary-general, Mr. Charlie Seow, 32, and organising secretary, Mr. Ng Ho, 52.

It gave these reasons for its action:

THE party was under the control of a four-man “inner cabinet” headed by Mr. J.B. Jeyaretnam, the secretary-general,

THEY WERE refused information on the state of party finances, including charges that the party had received a gift of $600,000 for the last general election.

No expenses

Mr. Ng said he had asked the party chairman, Mr. Heng Swee Tong at a council meeting about party funds for the polls.

Said Mr. Ng: “He said the party was prepared to spend $2,000 on each candidate.

“Later he said that he was only prepared to spend $80,000 on 40 candidates.

“Then he said he was only prepared to pay for 30 candidates.

“When the election came we could not get even one cent for expenses.”

He charged that another party official paid $1,500 to buy off an Independent candidate who was standing in his constituency.

His main charge against Mr. Jeyaretnam was that he changed party policy whenever he liked, without consulting the party.

He also accused Mr. Robert Tan, the treasurer, of opening another Chinese medicine clinic sponsored by the party in Tampines recently.

$600,000 gift

He and Mr. Charlie Seow had asked the council about the charges by the Government that the party had received a gift of $600,000 for the polls.

“They replied that there was no case and that there was no evidence. That’s all they would say.”

Mr. Seow said that among those who had quit the party were seven candidates who had stood for the last election on Workers Party tickets, including himself and Mr. Ng Ho.

Others are Encik Ariffin bin Noordin (Siglap), Cik Norma Yahya (Changi), Encik Zainal Abidin (Telok Blangah), Encik Othman bin Abdullah (Kampong Kembangan) and Mr. Wong Kiu Yu (Alevandra).

“We want to disassociates ourselves from the financial affairs of the party,” he said.

Motives

He claimed that some 200 members of the Workers Party’s 554 members backed his group.

Asked about their future, he said they had already formed a pro-tem committee for a new political organisation.

In a statement, the group charged that the present leadership of the Workers Party represented “big business opportunists.”

They were “intolerant of criticism and discussion,” they said.

They said: “We may never know the motives of this clique and their stooges. History is the best judge,” they said.

The breakaway group said none of them were elected into the new Workers Party central council which was elected last Sunday.

Mr. Jeyaretnam could not be contacted for comments.

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