SINGAPORE: Violence broke out on Thursday between rival factions of one of Singapore’s opposition party, the Singapore Malay National Organisation or PKMS.
PKMS is short for Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Singapura.
Five people were injured and admitted to hospital. Four have since been discharged while one member is in intensive care. Twenty—one people were arrested for rioting.
The fighting took place outside the PKMS headquarters in Eunos between party members who are in a dispute over power transition.
There are two feuding camps — the outgoing and incoming office bearers.
The old guard is accusing a leader of the new committee of inciting violence, by sending an SMS to its supporters to take over the party by force.
The message called the outgoing leaders "traitors" who allegedly used up party funds.
Osman Hassan, PKMS president (2006—2009), said: "They came and so I asked my members to straight away call the police. But I’m surprised that by the time they arrived, the police were already here. So the fight broke out in front of the police."
But the new guard said they were merely trying to change the lock to the building to prevent illegal immigrants from entering. They claimed the outgoing committee, headed by Osman, would not allow them to do so and attacked them.
Nor Lella Mohamed, PKMS deputy president (2008—2010), said: "There are two legal office bearers here. We are fully aware that their term has expired on 2 September. Some of their Supreme Council members told us that they are not having any AGM, (which) they are supposed to (do so). So if they are not having it, we take it as their term has already expired. After we had a meeting with our own Supreme Council, they decided that we should go to PKMS and sort this thing out."
Channel NewsAsia spoke to the family of the victim admitted to the intensive care unit in hospital. There was clearly some tension when the reporter mentioned Osman, suggesting there was quite a deep divide between the two sides.
Family members said the victim, Ramlan, was conscious when they met him but both his eyes were swollen shut.
This is not the first time violence has broken out between the two rival factions.
The new guard claimed some of its members who had served on the previous committee were unlawfully terminated from their leadership positions.
Both sides had also accused each other of misappropriating party funds and violating their party’s constitution.