I quote the following from ST Insight published today:
Another issue to watch is the state of the opposition.
The Workers' Party marks its 50th anniversary this November. Says WP chairman Sylvia Lim: 'We are certainly celebrating, because now at least we see our party seems to be making some progress in terms of renewal and it's a momentum we want to keep up. We are proud we've reached this stage.'
But if the opposition movement is to grow, veteran opposition leader Chiam See Tong of the Singapore Democratic Alliance believes the various parties must cooperate and unite.
'Singaporeans have often complained that the opposition is not even able to keep its own house in order,' he says. 'So we must avoid the in-fighting that plagued us in the past because that will set us back another few years.'
Breakaway members from the WP may set up a new party. Mr Goh Meng Seng, who stood for the WP in Aljunied GRC at the 2006 polls, told Insight the name 'Democratic Labour Front' has been tossed about. The party, if formed, would be more liberal than the WP but less confrontational than the Singapore Democratic Party, he said.
The reporter, Peh, called me for a telephone interview three days ago. As usual, my first reaction is "What story are you going to write this time?" Sure enough, he says he is writing something about the upcoming events for the new year.
He asked a few questions:
1) Are you going to form a new party?
2) Will you consider to rejoin Workers' Party?
3) Has NSP President, Sebastine, asked you to join them?
Looking at the questions asked, one would not suspect that anything sinister would occur. I replied him accordingly:
1) Well, I have not decided yet but it is a possibility (what would the name of the new party be? Is it going to be "Democratic Labour Front"?) I will not reveal first but I have tossed with this name... (Is "Democratic Labour Front" be the best name for the new party?) Well, among those listed in the Sammyboy poll, yes but I have some other better names in mind but I am not going to tell you. (Have you consulted Mr. Low about forming the new party?) I think I should decide my own destiny (Will the creation of the new party create concerns among WP members?) I don't think they should be concerned at all because like what I have said, the pie is big enough for another new party and I am not going to poach from WP. Besides, when I resigned from WP, it is just an individual's decision. In fact, I believe that if the new party is formed, it should have common interests with WP and they will work together closely. (how would the new party positions itself?) If the new party is formed, it should be more liberal than WP but not as confrontational as SDP.
2)Well, it is very unlikely for me to rejoin WP but I will keep that option open. It depends on whether WP needs my service or not but I believe with its growth right now, they should not have problems in grooming more people.
3) I shall not comment on this as it involves a third party. You should ask Sebastian himself.
The above may not be an exact record of what transpired but they are what I have remembered.
Well, my point is this, I have indicated that there are common interests involved and WP should not view the creation of the new party (if it really happens) in a negative way. This is definitely not a "breakaway faction" or anything like that.
Thus, I am really amazed that the Insight report puts Mr. Chiam's comment along side with my interview, the possibility of forming a new party to create an impression that such act of creating a new party is "disunity". This is especially so when it uses the word "breakaway member" right after Mr. Chiam talks about the ills of "in fighting"! But the truth is, I have indicated that even if I am going to form a new party, it will most probably work hand in hand with WP as we share common interests!
I find it quite intriguing in such "misreporting"; not in terms of misquoting my words, but using parts of the interview in a way to misrepresent the whole gist of the interview...i.e. in effect, quote out of context!
What is more interesting is this; Mr. Chiam should not be concerned about people like me forming a new party because his view of opposition unity is that all opposition parties should unite. Besides he was talking about "in fighting" which is obviously not the case in my resignation. In fact, I think Mr. Chiam is more concerned about NSP leaving SDA than anything else.
This is a subtle way of creating certain impression by piecing up different interviews in a way to create an overall impression of "disunity" of opposition and to demonstrate that if I ever form a new party, it would be considered as "breakaway" factions of WP!
Admittedly, the reporters are becoming more sophisticated in the way of creating misleading impression. If the three paragraphs are read separately without using the word "breakaway member", then they sound perfectly alright. But by putting them together, then there is a subtle underlining message in between! They are saying subtly that although WP is making some progress, but it may face problems with "in fighting" and "breakaway member" like me trying to form a new party is an example of such "disunity". This is a gross misrepresentation of the truth! My resignation from WP is never an issue of "in fighting". Besides, I am definitely not a "breakaway member" that could break WP or create disunity among WP.
I could foresee that it will become more challenging now to deal with local reporters. ;)
Goh Meng Seng