TL;DR – The Chiams don’t want to be used by the Chee
Dr Derek da Cunha wrote an article “The Chiams Set The Record Straight” in Six-Six.com. It seems that the Chiams are still quite unhappy about Dr Chee Soon Juan. They don’t agree with some of the things that have been said about the relationship between the Chiams and Dr Chee Juan. In particular, they want to clarify what actually happened at the meetings between them and representatives of SDP in early 2011. Here are the two key points that the Chiams wanted to correct.
The meetings in 2011 were supposedly to help Mr Chiam address the “public perception” that he’s a “one-man show”
That’s what Dr Wong Wee Nam, member of SDP’s healthcare advisory panel, asserted. Mrs Chiam disagreed with such an assertion. She felt that it’s wrong to say that the public perceived Mr Chiam to be a “one-man show”. As Mrs Chiam put it:
“Mr Chiam and SPP have always been interested in ways to collaborate with political parties”
Indeed, Mr Chiam proactively reached out to work with other political parties. Mr Chiam was key to bring together different political parties to form the Singapore Democratic Alliance in 2001. In the run-up to the GE2011, Mr Chiam held talks on possible collaboration with members of other political parties.
Dr Chee was ready to let Mr Chiam return to lead the SDP
That is another claim that Dr Wong made:
“The fact that he (Dr Chee) was willing to let Chiam See Tong come back as a leader to a party that Soon Juan had invested all his youth and kept afloat with all his sacrifices says a lot to me about his dedication.”
Another SDP member, Mr Bryan Lim also echoed this claim in a speech in a rally in GE2015:
“No one can deny that Dr Chee had willingly made way for Mr Chiam to head the party, the party he had made so much (sic) sacrifices for. My friends, if this isn’t a display of Dr Chee’s selflessness then I don’t know what is.”
Mrs Chiam has disputed such claims. SDP’s offer was for Mr Chiam to return to SDP as an Honorary Chairman that acknowledges Mr Chiam as a founder of SDP. The position is not in the CEC, which means that it was unlikely that Mr Chiam would have any real power to lead SDP had he taken up the position.
Mrs Chiam also said that there were other terms that came with the offer and SDP set an unrealistic deadline for Mr Chiam to accept the offer with a week. All of which meant that there was no way Mr Chiam would have accepted the offer. Mrs Chiam said:
“Given their condition that the proposal had to be accepted within one week, among other terms, it was a non-starter”
The Chiams still don’t like Dr Chee
From Mrs Chiam’s email correspondences with Dr Derek da Cunha, it seems the the Chiams have still not reconciled with Dr Chee and SDP. Never mind how brightly Dr Chee was smiling in this photo.