Singapore—Michael Chua, the organising secretary of Progress Singapore Party (PSP), announced to party members on Sunday (July 19) that Leong Mun Wai and Hazel Poa have been relieved of their leadership duties at PSP in order for them to focus on their duties as Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMP).
After the results of the General Election, Mr Leong, who had been PSP’s Assistant Secretary-General, and Ms Poa, party vice-chair, were chosen by PSP as NCMPs. Mr Leong and Mr Poa, together with party head Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Jeffrey Khoo and Nadarajah Loganathan, were part of the “best losers” PSP slate that contested at West Coast GRC.
The PAP team, headed by Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran, bested the PSP slate with 51.69 percent of the vote to PSP’s 48.31 percent, which meant that PSP lost West Coast GRC by less than 4,700 votes.
The Straits Times (ST) reported that Mr Chua told PSP members on July 19 that the party’s central executive committee (CEC) made a decision on July 17 for Mr Leong and Ms Poa to be “relieved of internal party responsibilities so that they can focus on their parliamentary duties as NCMPs”.
“As such, they will step down from their posts as Asst Sec-Gen and Vice-Chairman respectively with immediate effect. A Parliamentary Secretariat will be set up to assist the NCMPs in their duties,” Mr Chua said in his message to the members.
As for their replacements, Mr Chua added that Francis Yuen would take over as Assistant Secretary-General “with immediate effect,” although the post of Vice-Chairman would remain vacant for the time being.
Mr Yuen is part of PSP’s CEC and represented the party during the campaign period at a televised debate.
Mr Chua made additional announcements concerning PSP’s future plans, as Mr Yuen is tackling a restructuring of the party, including establishing a Women’s Wing and Youth Wing. This will be announced at a later date, after the Registry of Societies approves the change, according to the ST.
The ST also noted the unconventionality of PSP’s decision to remove Mr Leong and Ms Poa from party leadership, citing the example from the Workers’ Party (WP) wherein its NCMPs after the 2015 election, Dennis Tan, Leon Perera, and Daniel Goh, all took positions in WP leadership, and added that it understands that it was party head Dr Tan who proposed the separation of party and parliamentary responsibilities.
Mr Yuen told the ST, “They are still CEC members, they just don’t have a role that boxes them in day-to-day. We want to get it right for our first two NCMPs, so they need to spend all their time there, and step down from internal assignments. We don’t want them distracted with things like interviewing new members and setting up ground operations.”
The ST further quotes the new PSP Assistant Secretary-General as saying, “We are not fighting another election any time soon. So this is a time for building and consolidating.” —/TISG
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