The chief of the Reform Party (RP), Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam said that independent candidate Han Hui Hui’s claims about failing to find a place in an opposition party were “wholly fabricated”, and a “smear” on the party and its candidate – her rival – in the single-seat ward of Radin Mas.
In a statement, Mr Jeyaretnam said her “creative approach to to telling the truth” was why the RP decided not to field her.
Ms Han is contesting the Radin Mas Single Member Constituency (SMC), in a three-cornered fight involving the People’s Action Party’s Sam Tan and the RP’s Kumar Appavoo.
At her first election rally at Delta Stadium on Thursday (Sep 3), Ms Han said that at the Nomination Centre on Sep 1, Mr Appavoo had lacked sufficient assentors and it was only “at the very last minute someone stood up and became the sixth person”. (Each candidate must have a proposer, a seconder and at least four assentors.)
“If they didn’t come, what will happen? There wouldn’t be a three-cornered fight,” said Ms Han. “If I don’t stand for election here what will happen? There won’t be any fight at all, Sam Tan will just walkover.”
Mr Jeyaretnam described her statement as “wholly fabricated” and “a blatant attempt at character assassination”.
Mr Appavoo’s paperwork was in order, the party chief said, and in fact it was Ms Han who was seen “to be taking a very long time to put in her paperwork”.
“This may well be because she was assisted by Socialist Front Chairman Mr Ng Teck Siong who notoriously failed to get his nomination papers in on time for Tanjong Pagar GRC (Group Representation Constituency) in GE 2011,” said Mr Jeyaretnam. As a result a walkover was declared in the GRC that year.
He added: “It is ironic that this team is now fabricating a story in order to take credit for preventing a hypothetical walkover in Radin Mas.”
Calling Ms Han a “Socialist Front sponsored candidate”, Mr Jeyaretnam said she “not only defamed our colleague and candidate Mr Kumar Appavoo but also attempted to cast doubts on the competency and fitness of the Reform Party”.
Mr Ng and the late Mr JB Jeyararetnam co-founded the RP in 2008, but after the latter’s death, Mr Ng had left over reported differences with the younger Mr Jeyaretnam, the founder’s son.
On Friday, Mr Jeyaretnam said that the RP had always been supportive of Ms Han, and had attended her Central Provident Fund (CPF) rallies at Hong Lim Park. Ms Hui, a blogger, held “Return Our CPF” protests last year, alongside blogger Roy Ngerng who is now a RP candidate contesting Ang Mo Kio GRC.
“However, while her bravery, her age… and her need for funds is not in doubt, it was her creative approach to the truth that was a prominent factor in our decision not to field her,” said Mr Jeyaretnam.
He added that the party had written to the Secretary General of the Socialist Front on this issue but had not gotten a response.