The secretary general of the People’s Action Party (PAP), Lee Hsien Loong, has thanked his colleague in the constituency, Inderjit Singh, for his nearly two decades of service as a Member of Parliament (MP).
Mr Singh, who first entered politics in 1996, had announced on his Facebook page last month that he was stepping down from politics in this next general elections.
“I did my best to serve and this would not have been possible without my team, the grassroots leaders and branch activists, at Kebun Baru who have become my extended family,” the four-term MP said.
Mr Singh’s announcement was made on the same day the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee released its report of the boundary changes for the constituencies in the upcoming elections.
The news, however, was met with dismay and disapproval from Dr Ng Eng Hen, the PAP’s Organising Secretary, who publicly chided the MP.
“We want to handle the retirement of our MPs more smoothly and I would prefer a more deliberate and a dignified manner,” Dr Ng, who is also the Defence Minister, reportedly said.
And then in an apparent reference to Mr Inderjit, Dr Ng added:
“You can post your retirement on Facebook, but I think as an MP who has served 15, 20, even 30 years – that’s not the best way to do it.”
However, the next day, the two men played down the spat, with Dr Ng saying that he had “great respect” for Mr Singh and how he has “learnt from his many good speeches in Parliament.”
Mr Singh, on his side, clarified that there was “no rift” between him and the party leadership; and said that he would be helping Mr Lee in his election campaign in Ang Mo Kio in the upcoming elections.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Mr Lee stepped in to bring an end to the spat, and expressed appreciation for the years of work the MP has put in.
“Inderjit has served as MP for nearly 20 years, and has looked after his voters well,” Mr Lee said. “He is retiring to spend some well-deserved time with his family. Thank you Inderjit and all the best!”