If I’m not wrong, the local branch of Malaysia’s ketuanan Melayu UMNO, PKMS, is finally about to keel over. PKMS also attends UMNO meetings and is to me, an UMNO outpost in Singapore and a racist anachronism from the Malaysia days. Anyway, PKMS political infighting escalated into physical fighting on the streets last year. The usual issues set the brawl off – power struggle and who gets to keep that $10 million land at Changi Road where the PKMS building sits on.
PKMS is the only opposition party that has its own building I think and to think what kind of opposition GE siege engine it could finance if the building-land was sold off. It could even smack out a PAP GRC. No wonder SDA is keen to have that UMNO relic as a partner, however weird it sounded politically in Singapore where race and religion is explicitly kept out of politics, except for PKMS for supposed historical reasons.
Court rules on ownership of PKMS building but party feud unresolved
05:55 AM Aug 12, 2010
by Zul Othman
SINGAPORE – The two factions vying for control of Singapore’s only Malay-based political party have met in court but a resolution of their four-year-old feud is still nowhere in sight.
On Tuesday, council adviser Osman Hassan and three other leaders of the Singapore Malay National Organisation (PKMS) sought a High Court order for rival faction president Borhan Ariffin and two other trustees to cede control of the PKMS Building in Changi Road.
In what is seen as a setback to Mr Borhan’s bid for party control, Justice Lai Siu Chiu ordered him to sign over the trust deed, thereby handing over control of the PKMS Building to Mr Osman and his committee.
They were given 15 days to so, failing which the Registrar of the Supreme Court will sign the deed on their behalf. Mr Borhan and his team were also ordered to pay costs and disbursements amounting to $2,500.
When contacted, a representative from Mr Borhan’s team said they are appealing.
MediaCorp understands that Mr Borhan, as well as council members Muhamad Ali bin Aman and Atan bin Rafiee, are listed as the title deed owners of the PKMS Building.
Until 2006, Mr Borhan was the party president but things changed when Mr Osman and his faction seized control at an annual general meeting that same year.
Since then, both sides have been engaged in an ongoing battle for control.
After the hearing, Mr Osman’s lawyer, Mr PE Ashokan, said his clients – who include current president Ali Asjadi and former secretary-general Malik bin Ismail – were happy with the outcome.
He said: “The judge made the right decision and it is quite clear Mr Borhan’s faction has challenged Mr Osman’s authority as PKMS leader and failed. Therefore, I don’t see any merit in any intended appeal”.
Mr Osman stepped down from the president’s post last week to become council adviser. Mr Ali was elected to replace him.
That same week, Mr Borhan’s faction also held its own extraordinary general meeting.
Last September, the feud took a turn for the worse when a group from Mr Borhan’s faction tried to change the locks on the doors of the party office at the PKMS Building.
Members from both sides clashed as a result. In the end, 21 party members were arrested for rioting, and 12 were charged in court in March.
Investigations are in progress.
21 arrested in PKMS fight
Sep 4, 2009
AN ONGOING leadership tussle within opposition political party Singapore Malay National Organisation (PKMS) turned violent on Thursday when the two factions got into a brawl outside its office building in Eunos.
Four men had to be taken to hospital with head and arm injuries, with one of them warded in intensive care with a fractured skull. Police arrested a total of 21 people, two of them women, for rioting with dangerous weapons in relation to the incident, which happened around noon.
Those arrested, who include the four taken to hospital, are aged between 27 and 69. It is not known if those arrested were all PKMS members. Weapons such as hammers and screwdrivers were said to have been used in the fight. Anyone convicted of rioting with dangerous weapons can be jailed up to 10 years and caned.
For the last three years, PKMS has been split into two groups which have been at loggerheads with each other. The police have been called in several times in the past over previous bust-ups involving PKMS leaders. The party’s leadership dispute was also brought before the Subordinate Courts.
Madam Lella Mardiiiah Mohamed, who introduced herself as the party’s deputy president, said eight members of her team had gone to the PKMS premises on Thursday to change the locks. She said they had sent an e-mail message to the police as well as the current council to inform them of their plans to do so.
Thursday was supposed to be the day the term of the current council, led by president Osman Hassan, ended, she said. Madam Lella, 35, said she and her new council had been voted in at an extraordinary general meeting held last November.
But Mr Osman, 64, said he did not recognise the new team and refused to give up office. ‘It’s not legal for them to have called that meeting,’ he said.
He also said that his council’s term did not end on Thursday. It would end only when an annual general meeting is held, Mr Osman said, adding that he will ‘fix internal matters’ before he calls for one. Madam Lella said her group was stopped just outside the PKMS building by members of Mr Osman’s council, including his deputy president Ali Asjadi, who was among those arrested.
Both sides got into an argument and a fight soon broke out. Mr Osman said the other side had started the fight and were the ones who had brought the weapons. ‘Last time, I didn’t want to get aggressive, but now they forced me to,’ he said.
Three other men were also taken to the hospital but were discharged on the same day. Two of them, Mr Yusof Jaffar and Mr Salleh Mohamed Said, were members of Madam Lella’s group, while Mr Azhar Ali was from Mr Osman’s side.