The departure of Vice-Chairman Michelle Lee from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) has led to many questions being raised and the opposition party being compared to the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).
Ms Lee said that her being a candidate at the elections was never a priority, in an interview with TODAY online.
“I believe PSP can be a valuable addition to the Singapore political landscape,” she said. “My work has always been for the party, rather than for me as a candidate.”
She added that she left the party knowing that it was “in good hands” and that the newer members will be able to “take it forward”.
The comparison between the two parties started when PSP Secretary-General Dr Tan Cheng Bock, who was in the past a long-time member of the PAP but who in recent years has emerged as one of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s most vocal critics, said last year that he was building up his party to be a “credible alternative” to the PAP.
A report on media website redwiretimes claims that PSP members have complaints of elitism and factionalism.
Although the PSP has denied this, sources say that Ms Lee was reportedly angry at the appointment of new “elite” members into key positions in the PSP.
Supposedly among the “elite” appointments was new party Assistant Secretary-General Leong Mun Wai.
Many also referred to PSP member Alex Tan’s comments as “elitist” when he described the leaders of a proposed four-party alliance as captains of “sinking boats” who are just “clasping one another’s hands to save themselves from drowning”.
Mr Tan is the personal assistant to Dr Tan and sits on the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC). While he later said his remarks were made in a personal capacity, it painted a picture that the PSP was not willing to work with other parties.
People’s Power Party (PPP) Secretary-General Goh Meng Seng wrote in a Facebook post: “It seems that PSP is plotting secretly to go on full-scale 3-corner fights with all those ‘fringe sinking boat’ parties!”
Mr Tan’s comments and the rumours surrounding Ms Lee’s sudden departure have also been coupled with PSP members supposedly leaking inside information about the party.
Media website redwiretimes said in an article: “Top circle elitism aside, disgruntled former PSP members also speak of division within lower rungs of the party based on social class, and even age.”
They add that the party has yet to release a statement addressing the reports of elitism and factionalism. /TISG