PSP will have 'loose association' with other parties for now: Tan Cheng Bock

PSP will have 'loose association' with other parties for now: Tan Cheng Bock

PSP central executive committee 2
Dr Tan Cheng Bock (first row, centre) with the members of the Progress Singapore Party's central executive committee at a New Year’s dinner on Jan 17, 2020. Timbre Capital CEO Leong Mun Wai (first row, second from right) was appointed the party's assistant secretary-general. (Photo: Cindy Co)

SINGAPORE: The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) will have a "loose association" with other parties for now, said PSP secretary-general Dr Tan Cheng Bock on Friday (Jan 17).

"We'll wait and see because each political party has got its own agenda, so I have to see how best I can gel with them," he said.

These remarks were made by Dr Tan to reporters after a New Year’s dinner held on Friday for PSP members.

"PSP will work with all opposition parties," said Dr Tan, 79, in a speech. He added that an arrangement may be worked out closer to the General Elections.

This comes after his personal secretary Alex Tan was revealed to have made disparaging remarks about a potential four-party alliance.

Media reports previously said that four opposition parties - Singaporeans First (SingFirst), Democratic Progressive Party, People’s Power Party and Reform Party - were in talks to form an alliance led by SingFirst secretary-general Tan Jee Say.

Mr Alex Tan, who is also a key member of PSP’s central executive committee (CEC), described the leaders of the alliance as captains of "sinking boats" who were just "clasping one another’s hands to save themselves from drowning".

A statement posted by the PSP on Jan 15 later clarified that the comments were made by Mr Tan in his personal capacity and did not represent the party. 

When asked whether Mr Tan’s remarks has damaged PSP’s relationship with other opposition parties, Dr Tan described it as a "hiccup".

"In politics, sometimes things do happen. Don’t be too worked up by it," he said.


Leong Mun Wai
The Progress Singapore Party's new assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai at the rostrum. To his left are Mr K S Singam, Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Ms Michelle Lee. (Photo: TODAY/Raj Nadarajan)

Dr Tan also announced five new faces to the party CEC, including CEO of investment firm Timbre Capital Leong Mun Wai, who will be Dr Tan's new right-hand man.

He takes over the post of assistant secretary-general from Mr Anthony Lee, who is stepping down for personal reasons. 

Vice-chairman K S Singam will also be stepping aside for Ms Michelle Lee.

The two members of the founding CEC will be stepping back from their roles, but will remain in the committee, said Dr Tan.

Mr Leong, 60, said that he was reluctant to join politics at first but he was touched by Dr Tan's "selfless dedication" and willingness to fight for his beliefs.

"So here I am, from a reluctant politician at first to a serious one now," he said.

He added that he hopes the PSP can present "the most credible alternative front" in Singapore since the 1980s, and make the coming General Election a "watershed".

The other new CEC members are former Hong Leong Asia CEO Francis Yuen, wealth manager Andrew Ng, fund manager Ong Seow Yong and Ms Tan Chika, who manages her family’s company in the maritime industry.

“PSP is now managed by a team,” said Dr Tan. “PSP is not just Tan Cheng Bock’s party, it is the people’s party.”

Opposition leaders such as the Singapore Democratic Party’s Chee Soon Juan and Dr Paul Tambyah, Workers’ Party’s Gerald Giam and People’s Voice’s Lim Tean also attended the dinner.

During the event, the party unveiled its theme song and its mascot, an otter named Otica. Dr Tan also announced that the party has acquired a unit for its headquarters at Bukit Timah Shopping Centre.

Source: CNA/ga(hm)