JB Jeyaratnam passes away

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 October 2008, 11:27 GMT]
JB Jeyaretnam, the veteran opposition politician in Singapore and the first opposition member to be elected as Member of Parliament in Singapore, passed away on Tuesday of a heart attack at the age of 82.

Born in Jaffna in 1926, Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, a Lawyer educated in Britain, was called to the bar in 1951. Settled in Singapore and engaged in politics, he became the first opposition MP to win a seat in the Singaporean Parliament in 1981.

He served as Secretary-General of the Worker's Party from 1971 to 2001. He served as Non-Constituency MP from 1991 to 2001 when he was declared bankrupt and lost his seat in the Parliament.

He was defeated in defamation suit against the then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, twice, in 1979 and in 1990.

JBJ, as he is affectionately known, was known for his outspoken criticism of the Singaporean system of governance.

In 2007, he was discharged from bankruptcy and allowed to resume practicing law and founded the Reform Party in June this year.

A 15-minute documentary about JBJ, titled 'A Vision of Persistence', was withdrawn from Singapore Film Festival in 2002 as the filmmakers were advised that they could be charged under the Films Act, which bans the making, distribution and showing of films containing biased references or comments on any political matter.

He leaves behind two sons.

JBJ's funeral wake will be held at Mount Vernon Funeral Parlour No.1, 121 Upper Aljunied Road from 30 Sep 2008 (7pm onwards) to 4 Oct 2008.

There will be a funeral service at the St Andrew's Cathedral on 4 Oct 08, Saturday at 2:00 pm. The cortege will leave for the Mandai crematorium at 3:30 pm.


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