|Jeya's supporters plan rally|
Agence France Presse
March 8, 2001
Jeya loses another round in battle to keep seat Singapore's lion-hearted opposition
SUPPORTERS of veteran Singapore opposition leader J.B. Jeyaretnam are planning a rally this month, as the Workers Party chief wages an uphill legal battle to keep his parliamentary seat.
Jacob George, a spokesman for the organisers, said they have applied for a permit from the police for the "Save JBJ Rally" planned for March 31. JBJ are the initials of the 74-year-old Jeyaretnam.
They plan to hold the gathering at a stadium in this strict city-state where permits for opposition political rallies are rare.
"We have applied for a public entertainment license. It's still pending," George told AFP. "We hope it will be approved. We'll see how it goes."
Among the organisers is James Gomez, head of the reformist group Think Centre, who was recently questioned by police investigating whether fist-pumping actions by a group gathered at the designated free-speech corner constituted an illegal rally.
Jeyaretnam, one of only three opposition members in the 93-seat parliament, is on the verge of losing his seat after being declared bankrupt by the High Court.
Last week, the High Court dismissed his petition for the stay of a bankruptcy order, leaving the politician with the Court of Appeal as the final avenue to explore.
Under Singapore law, Jeyaretnam will lose his seat in parliament and be barred from running for office if a final ruling is made declaring him bankrupt.
He was bankrupted last month after he missed the deadline for a S$23,450 (US$13,477) payment for damages awarded to political opponents who had sued him for defamation.
He owes s$235,000 dollars to eight leaders of the local Indian community who successfully claimed they were defamed in a 1995 Workers Party article.
Jeyaretnam broke a 16-year monopoly by the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) when he was first elected to parliament in 1981.
The staunch long-time foe of the PAP faces more legal hurdles with several PAP leaders including former premier Lee Kuan Yew pressing defamation cases against him.