Benjamin Pwee, secretary-general of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), announced on Thursday, February 7, that he is leaving the DPP for a new political party.
The Central Executive Committee received his resignation towards the end of last month and Mohamad Hamim is now DPP’s secretary-general.
Though he refrained from naming which particular party he is joining, he told Channel NewsAsia (CNA) that it will be an organization with “a much more longstanding, recognizable and credible senior leader.”
The leader of the party that Pwee is referring may be one of the main reasons for his decision. He said that the leader of that party has “parliamentary experience and a good strong and wide support base”.
Of the party he is joining, Pwee also said, “Their leadership is warmly welcoming of my team and me joining them, as they believe in teamwork, collaboration, and shared leadership.”
Pwee added that another 5 DPP members are also leaving the party and will be joining the new one where he will transfer. He told CNA that he would be the first to do so, and other members “will step down in due course”.
Apparently, it is the new party that will formally announce Pwee’s membership.
Pwee told CNA his reason for joining the new party, “There is no way small parties like DPP can mount a viable electoral campaign on its own, so this is a good time for my team and I to join the bigger party, to start being involved with their campaign preparations. Small parties make a lot of noise and fight for attention, but fundamentally do not have the effectiveness” to win over voters with successful campaigns.
He also said that he and the other DPP members who are joining him had in-depth talks with the new party. They have also met repeatedly.
Pwee’s timing seems particularly noteworthy, as talk is circulating of the next General Election being held by the end of the year. As such, opposition parties seem to be getting ready for the next round of voting.
All eyes are on Dr. Tan Cheng Bock as the figure around whom the opposition parties are organizing. Tan announced his return to politics on January 18, with a new political party called Progress Singapore Party. Opposition parties such as the Singapore Democratic Party, the People’s Power Party, the DPP, the Reform Party, the National Solidarity Party, the Singaporeans First Party and the People’s Voice Party, have invited Tan to lead a coalition of opposition parties.
Pwee says that he hopes his transfer to the new party will “encourage many other credible talented Singaporeans to step forward and join more significant political leaders”.
According to him, “There is definitely a continued strong desire for all opposition parties to come together to partner and collaborate under a common cause.”