Chiam See Tong: We have no ill intentions towards the ex-CEC members

the following is a public statement by Mr Chiam See Tong:

Some of the claims made in public against members in the SPP and myself have become so warped that I am now compelled to give a personal explanation.

The six members of the CEC submitted their resignations to the party on 27 January, asking for that to take place with immediate effect. While we were reluctant, I eventually accepted their resignations in writing as they had made the resignations public.

The party can confirm that we have received legal advice to refute claims that the conduct of the Ordinary Party Conference (OPC) elections for new CEC members on 29 January was unconstitutional. Those claims were made by the ex-members who were not present at the OPC, and thus may not have been aware of the proceedings that day.

It has been levelled against me as Secretary-General of the SPP that I am not interested in leadership renewal and succession, or in being consultative. Nothing can be further from the truth.

I am aggressively building up the next batch of potential leaders, consistent with the public statement the party made recently. At this point of time, we can confirm that our talent pipeline is not affected. But the baton should only be passed when the right leaders are in place. To be sure of the capability and aptitude of the next leader, they have to work with our grassroots and volunteers. They have to show commitment to attending our walkabouts and other party activities. They have to showcase their policymaking capabilities through the policy working group. 

I believe in the merits of a consultative, collective leadership. But the situation of a ‘lack of collective leadership’ which the party has been accused of was in fact a situation of ‘collective leadership’ exercised by those ex-CEC members in isolation from other CEC members. A key example of this was the setting up of their proposed community foundation under the banner of the SPP, which was privy only to them. The rest of the CEC was not consulted or involved in this setting up of this foundation.    

We have been asked to respond to specific accusations over disagreements concerning signboards, book publications and event invitations. We see no point in doing so. 

We reiterate that contrary to rumours, former presidential candidate Mr Tan Jee Say was not involved in the resignations. If he decides to join the SPP, we will welcome him fully.

The SPP is supportive of opposition unity and initiatives towards this end.

We have no ill intentions towards the ex-CEC members. They have indicated their intention to pursue other interests – we respect their decision and we sincerely wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Chiam See Tong



the following is a statement by Singapore People's Party:

On 29 January 2012, the SPP conducted an Ordinary Party Conference (OPC) and elected a new Central Executive Committee (CEC). The appointments within this new CEC have not yet been decided – this will be subjected to a vote within 3 weeks of the OPC, and will be announced in due course.

The party received both resignations, which had been accepted, as well as new applications for membership. This was an opportune time for the party to renew and strengthen the team.

The events within the SPP over the past week were an internal matter, and the party saw no need to speak to the media about it. However, some claims leveled at members in the party in public are untrue and we want to make certain clarifications. 

It was reported in several sources in the print and online media reported that the resignation of the CEC members was linked to former presidential candidate Mr Tan Jee Say. That rumour went that the possibility of Mr Tan joining the SPP was met with resistance from within the party. This is not true. If Mr Tan decides to join the SPP, we will fully welcome him.  The SPP is also supportive of opposition unity and initiatives towards this end.

We have 3 main points of focus now:  

Internally we are focused on building a sustainable pipeline of talents. The party takes the leadership pipeline seriously. This includes taking a very careful stance in planning for succession. To be accountable to Singaporeans whom we serve, the SPP has to be sure of the capability and aptitude of the next leader, whether he or she can work well with all the bases of the party including our strong grassroots and volunteers bases, and must be proven over time. This guiding principle applies to our decision in the OPC. The leadership in SPP has been carefully building up the character of select young candidates with the passion to serve through different platforms such as the policy working group and the weekly MPS. These potential leaders will be given the chance to drive key projects within the SPP for the good of Singaporeans. This select group receives personal mentorship from senior members of the SPP directly.

A second focus is the continuity of our work. Besides the policy work group, the party’s other activities continue as usual. These include its financial counselling sessions led by volunteer Mr Leong Sze Hian, at Potong Pasir Block 108; its weekly Meet the People sessions (MPS), conducted by NCMP Mrs Lina Chiam at Block 213 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh; and the party's regular walkabouts of outreach and door-to-door MPS at Bishan-Toa Payoh. Currently the team is working on inputs from the public for the upcoming parliamentary debate on the 2012 Singapore Budget. Our 3 priorities for policy work comprises of social and healthcare, CPF and economic growth.

Thirdly, the party sees Potong Pasir, Bishan-Toa Payoh and Hong Kah North constituencies as its priorities at the next general election due in 2016.