However, the Government did not lend the money to Indonesia. Subsequently, the former prime ministers sued Chee. However, the case never went to trial as the courts passed summary judgement in favour of the two plaintiffs.
In 2006, after failing to pay the damages, Chee was declared a bankrupt.
In a separate matter, also in 2006, Chee and 12 other defendants were sued for defamation by then-prime minister Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Kuan Yew for an article in the SDP’s newsletter, The New Democrat, for drawing parallels between the National Kidney Foundation case and the PAP’s governance.
Eventually, all the CEC members apologised and paid undisclosed amounts of damages to the Lees, except the SDP, Chee Siok Chin and Chee.
Subsequently, the court again granted summary judgement on the case and ordered the defendants to pay a total of S$650,000 to the Lees.
The SDP says the Lees have not initiated proceedings to claim the damages thus far.
Because of his bankruptcy status, Chee was banned from participating in the general election last year and also from travelling out of Singapore. His appeals to be allowed to do the latter have been repeatedly rejected by the authorities.
In his offer to Goh and Lee Kuan Yew, which Dr Chee has communicated to the Official Assignee at the Insolvency and Public Trustee's Office, Chee is offering S$30,000 to settle the matter and clear himself from bankruptcy.
In a press release on 26 July, the SDP says Chee is making the offer because he “wants to discharge himself from bankruptcy as he intends to contest in the next general elections due in 2016.”
“To do this, he will try to raise the money from the sales of [the book] Democratically Speaking to pay off the damages,” the SDP added.
The 16-chapter book marks Chee’s 20th year since he entered politics in 1992.
“During the period, I have raised a plethora of issues – from the high-profile to the more obscure, crossed swords with the rulers of this country and partaken of significant political events in Singapore,” Chee says in an extract from the book. “I hope that I have been able to influence, to whatever degree, Singapore’s politics; it certainly has influenced me.”
In the past 20 years, Chee says, one word “has always occupied the centre” of his political work. “Indeed, it is more than a word. It is a belief, a way of life that has eluded this nation and her people. It is a goal to which I have dedicated my life to achieving. That word, that belief, that goal is democracy.”
And in his campaign to bring democracy to Singapore, Chee and his party had engaged in civil disobedience, holding high profile protests – most notably the Speakers’ Corner protest in September 2006 during the IMF/World Bank meeting in Singapore which drew international attention.
In the last few years, however, the SDP has adopted a less confrontational approach and has focused itself on policies and offering alternative ideas in several areas.
Its latest policy alternative, for example, is its National Healthcare Plan, which is a collaborative work with a group of doctors. The plan, which seeks to overhaul the current system which has raised serious concerns, has attracted praise for its boldness.
The SDP is also believed to be working on comprehensive policy alternatives in other areas as well, such as public housing which is another major concern among Singaporeans.
"We are building up slowly but surely, and with each passing month and year, we are gaining momentum to becoming an alternative national party," Dr Chee says. But in order to achieve this, it is important for the party’s leader to have the people’s support. “It is important, therefore, that I am eligible when the next GE comes around,” Chee explains.
The launch of the book will be held on Sunday, 5 August. More details here.
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