FORMER Opposition MP and former secretary-general of the Workers’ Party, Mr J B Jeyaretnam, died early this morning of heart failure.
He was 82.
Mr Jeyaretnam was the first Opposition party candidate to be elected a Member of Parliament in Singapore, 16 years after the country gained independence. He served as an MP for the Workers’ Party of Singapore from 1981 to 86, and again from 1997 to 2001.
Having left the Workers’ Party, he was most recently interim secretary-general of the Reform Party, which he formed.
His son, Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam, told Channel NewsAsia that his father, who had a pre-existing heart condition, had complained of breathing difficulties early this morning.
He was rushed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital but doctors were unable to revive him. He passed away with his family by his side.
Mr Jeyaretnam leaves behind two sons.
In an emailed statement to the media, Kenneth said: “It is with overwhelming sadness that I can inform you that my father, Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, passed away in the early hours of the morning of September 30 at our apartment here on Evelyn Road.
“Earlier this evening he and I had enjoyed a light dinner and chatted and then he sat out on the balcony for a while before retiring.
“At about 1.30 am he woke up and was obviously in distress and I called an ambulance. He was taken to Tan Tock Seng hospital but unfortunately the medical team working on him were unable to revive him despite their lengthy and strenuous attempts.
“My brother Philip joined me at the hospital and we were then informed by the doctor in charge of his care that he had passed away. We wish to thank the team for their valiant efforts.
“Naturally, at this moment, the family is overwhelmed with grief and we will make further announcements after the necessary arrangements have been made.”