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Low, Sylvia & Pritam halt donations after receiving S$1 million in 3 days, thank public for moral support

'The financial support is crucial but the moral support you have given us is incalculable.'

Martino Tan |Belmont Lay | October 27, 2018 @ 10:07 am

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Talk about leaving on a high note.

Or in this case, many, many notes.

Workers’ Party Members of Parliament Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim and Pritam Singh have decided to put an end to the appeal for public donations for now.

In a heartfelt blog post (“Closing the Appeal“) shared on Saturday morning, Oct. 27, the three MPs signed off a note that informed the public they were “very touched by the incredible outpouring of support” from the public.

This was so as the trio received S$1 million of donations from the public in less than three days.

They announced that the contributions as of Oct. 27, 10am totalled S$1,008,802.

As a result of hitting the S$1 million milestone, the appeal for funds will stop for the moment, as they said they wished to seek the public’s help now to put contributions on hold.

Fund raising started on Wednesday

On Wednesday, Oct. 24 evening, the trio first made the call for donations to help them with their mounting legal fees and potential bankruptcy, as a result of the ongoing Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) trial.

The MPs and two other town councillors are facing two suits over S$33.7 million in alleged improper payments — one brought by Aljunied-Hougang Town Council as directed by an independent panel, and the other by Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council.

Hit S$1 million milestone in 60 hours or so

However, they have chosen to temporarily stop soliciting for donations as the amount raised substantially covers the legal fees required at this point in time.

The time it took them to raise S$1 million is slightly more than 60 hours.

The WP MPs had earlier revealed that they had spent close to S$600,000 of their own personal money on their legal fees, with no funds coming from WP itself.

The MPs added that if they lose the suits and are adjudged to pay large sums of money, but are unable to pay, they would face bankruptcy.

It is understood that being declared bankrupts would have a bearing on their chances of running in the next election.

As stewards of money from the public, the trio said in their latest note that they would provide updates on their In Good Faith blog on how the funds are used.

Momentum of donations has continued

Contributions to the fund continued to flood the bank accounts before the self-imposed closure.

In fact, the WP MPs received the highest amounts of donations on the third day.

In total, some 5,241 donors have contributed as of Oct. 26, 10pm.

Oct. 24 tally: S$100,000

Oct. 25 tally: S$377,653

Oct. 26 tally: S$430,265

A prudent move

If not for the self-imposed stoppage, public momentum would have likely continued unabated as fundraising efforts have yet to peak.

This self-imposed “cooling off” period appears to abide by the first principles set out by WP.

In his foreword for the WP’s 60th Anniversary book, Pritam had highlighted the need for a “loyal opposition” in Singapore.

He mentioned that WP believes that rational, respectable and responsible opposition politics defines a loyal opposition, attributing the idea of such a “loyal opposition” as first mooted by founder David Marshall in 1957.

It also appears that the three WP MPs do not want a successful fund-raising campaign to be a nationally polarising issue for Singaporeans.

Letter in full

Below is their letter in full:

“Dear Friends

We are very touched by the incredible outpouring of support from the public for the appeal that we launched barely three days ago.

The amount raised has crossed a million dollars.

We are closing the appeal for now, as the amount raised substantially covers the legal fees required at this point in time.

We would like to ask you to hold your contributions if you have not transferred them.

We will provide updates here on how the funds are used.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The financial support is crucial but the moral support you have given us is incalculable.

Sylvia, Pritam and Mr Low

各位朋友,

三天前,我们诉诸经济援助,向公众筹款。大家的热烈支持,日以续夜的积极乐捐令我们十分感动。

所筹到的款项现在已经超过一百万元。

我们现在停止继续筹款因为所筹到的款项已经足够应付目前所需的律师费。

如果您还未把您所欲捐出的款项汇入银行户口,我们请您留住捐款。

我们接下来会通过这个网站向大家汇报应用这些捐款的详情。

我们衷心感激您的资助。经济上的援助很重要。但您的道义支持则是重中之重!

比丹星、林瑞莲、刘程强 同敬启”

Top photo via Workers’ Party

About Martino Tan

Martino’s parents named him after an Italian priest, Vatican's 1st ambassador to S’pore. He's inspired by the lives of Robert Kennedy & Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the words of George Orwell & William F. Buckley Jr., & the music of the Beatles.

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