Indian-origin Singaporean politician sues own party

PTI | Singapore | Updated: 19-11-2021 07:23 IST | Created: 19-11-2021 07:23 IST
Indian-origin Singaporean politician sues own party
  • Country:
  • Singapore

An Indian-origin Singaporean politician is suing her own party for terminating her membership after she lost in the July 2019 general election, according to media reports on Friday.

Kala Manickam, 54, believes her issues with the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) took root when they cut off resources and support to her at the height of the hustings , The Straits Times reported.

The party, in countering her lawsuit, has rejected this and accused her instead of being a disruptive and uncooperative figure during and after the election.

Kala, an adult educator and former army officer, is seeking a refund of SGD 10,000 (USD 7,365.78) she contributed towards election expenses such as printing fliers and pamphlets and wants the PSP to declare that the termination of her membership in December 2020 was wrongful and invalid.

''Our client desires to have vindication as regards the alleged violation of her due process rights at general law and under the party Constitution. At this stage, she sees little point in being reinstated as a party member,'' The Straits Times quoted Kala's lawyers as saying.

The PSP's first electoral showing last year yielded two Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) seats, though it has since weathered a spate of controversies, infighting rumours and high-ranking departures.

NCMPs sit in the parliament on the basis of having garnered the highest number of votes in the general election among losing candidates.

With both sides disputing the facts laid out in statements made by each other, Kala has also applied for the case to be heard in an open court, which could include witness evidence, according to the Singapore daily report.

In one of seven affidavits filed by PSP members, party chief Francis Yuen said there was no basis for Kala's claim of SGD 10,000, which is collected from each election candidate. He pointed out that her own election expenses had run up to SGD 33,627 (USD 24,768.90), with the party paying for the balance of SGD 23,627 (USD 17,402.87).

He added that it made no sense for the PSP to ''intentionally sabotage'' its own candidate's chances at the polls.

In response to her application for the case to be heard in open court, Yuen said in an affidavit that Kala was hankering after a ''public spectacle'' and ''media attention'', and also accused her of abusing court process.

Kala replied in another affidavit that she had first engaged her lawyers to write to the PSP in May to try and resolve the matter amicably. It was only after four letters and around two months of correspondence that she was compelled to commence court proceedings in July, she added. This is one of the rarest case of a politician suing her own party over internal matters. The last known such action was in 1993, when opposition veteran Chiam See Tong successfully sued the Singapore Democratic Party for illegally expelling him.

His expulsion was reversed, though Chiam later left of his own accord to join the Singapore People's Party. Chiam, now 86 and retired, was opposition member of parliament from 1984 to 2011 and served as the Leader of the Opposition during his tenure.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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