Benjamin Pwee quits DPP for 'bigger' party with 'recognisable and credible senior leader'

Benjamin Pwee quits DPP for 'bigger' party with 'recognisable and credible senior leader'

File photo of Benjamin Pwee
File photo of Benjamin Pwee. (Photo: Jason Quah/TODAY)

SINGAPORE: Singapore politician Benjamin Pwee has left the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which he led for six years, for another political party that "has a much more longstanding, recognisable and credible senior leader", he said.

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia on Thursday (Feb 7), Mr Pwee, 51, added that the party he will join has a leader with "parliamentary experience and a good strong and wide support base".

He did not reveal the name of the party, saying he would leave it to them to make the official announcement about his membership. 

The DPP's Central Executive Committee accepted Mr Pwee's resignation as both secretary-general and party member on Jan 26. Mr Mohamad Hamim has assumed the role of secretary-general at DPP. 

Mr Pwee said that around five members plan to quit DPP and apply to join the new party as ordinary members. 

The business consultant added that he is the first to take the lead on resigning from DPP and that "the others will step down in due course".

Regarding the political party he will join, he said: "Their leadership is warmly welcoming of my team and me joining them, as they believe in teamwork, collaboration, and shared leadership."

READ: The Big Read: Opposition parties banding together — a grand plan or a last throw of the dice?  

TIME TO JOIN "BIGGER PARTY"

Mr Pwee's resignation comes as rumours of a General Election are rife and political parties are organising themselves internally to kick off their campaigns, he told Channel NewsAsia. 

His resignation also comes weeks after political veteran Dr Tan Cheng Bock filed for an application to form a new political party known as Progress Singapore Party.

Dr Tan, who is a former People's Action Party (PAP) MP, was invited to become the leader for a proposed opposition coalition consisting of 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. 

Mr Pwee said that the party he will join is a "key leader" in this coalition.

"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," Mr Pwee said.

Mr Pwee added that "small parties make a lot of noise and fight for attention, but fundamentally do not have the effectiveness" to launch successful and convincing campaigns that could win voters' confidence. 

Before he quit DPP, Mr Pwee and the other members who plan to leave had "deep discussions" with the other party and had met several times. 

The 51-year-old, who fought in Bishan-Toa Payoh in the last two elections, said he hopes that key significant political parties will come together in the next General Election.

He also expressed hope that his latest move would "encourage many other credible talented Singaporeans to step forward and join more significant political leaders".

"There is definitely a continued strong desire for all opposition parties to come together to partner and collaborate under a common cause," Mr Pwee said.

Source: CNA/na(mi)

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