The Singapore People’s Party has debunked speculation that it does not accept Dr Tan Cheng Bock as the leader of the opposition movement. In a statement published on their official Facebook page yesterday (30 Sept), the party said:
“The information on Singapore People’s Party not accepting Dr Tan Cheng Bock as leader of the opposition movement is unreliable. The party has provided no such information. As such, any source indicating that should be regarded as the opinion of an individual.
“The party would like to remind that only the Secretary-General or Chairman of the party can issue statements to media.”
It is unclear whether the speculation that the SPP does not accept Dr Tan as the leader of the opposition movement arose from a source within the party or a source unaffiliated with the party.
Such speculation arose shortly after news reports of the Progress Singapore Party’s (PSP) inaugural island-wide walkabout were published by the media. The PSP, which is led by Dr Tan, received a warm reception at the 29 constituencies it visited across the country and plans to continue walking the ground in the lead up to the upcoming General Election (GE).
Following the walkabout, PSP members told the media that they joined Dr Tan’s party because the see him as a unifying figure for the opposition movement. Members of other opposition parties appear to share this sentiment.
In July last year, at a closed door working luncheon among opposition party members, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) invited Dr Tan to help lead the effort in building coalition opposition parties. SDP urged Dr Tan to take the lead so as to present a unified front at the next GE.
The event saw the participation of the SDP, the People’s Power Party, the Democratic Progressive Party, the Reform Party, the National Solidarity Party, the Singaporeans First Party and the People’s Voice Party. The SDP said that all the opposition parties present at the meeting welcomed the move.
The SPP, which was not present at the meeting in July 2018, is set initiate leadership renewal in its upcoming internal elections in mid-October. 84-year-old veteran opposition politician Mr Chiam See Tong is expected to step down after 23 years at the party’s helm to make way for a new secretary-general.