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Lim Tean speaking at the Water hike protest at Hong Lim Park (Photo - Terry Xu)

Lim Tean announces resignation from National Solidarity Party

Lawyer, Lim Tean officially announces his resignation from National Solidarity Party (NSP) on Monday as Secretary General and member, citing differences between him and the party in approach to politics.

In the letter of resignation that is shared on Lim's Facebook page, he stated that he had tried to make the NSP a voice for the common man and voice for ordinary Singaporeans as it was the reason why he came into politics.

He wrote that the turning point for him on the choice of resignation, was when he got to know that there were elements in the party who disapproved of his participation in the water protest event at Hong Lim Park organised by Transitioning.org. An issue he felt troubled most Singaporeans and one that he thought, NSP would wholeheartedly embrace.

Another issue over which he said to have had great differences with the party is over the Elected Presidency.

He wrote, "This is one of the greatest Constitutional matters of our time, but again the party chose to remain silent." and also, "As Secretary General I made it clear to the party that I would never utter or write anything defamatory and so long as I kept within those parameters I would always exercise my constitutional right of free speech. I understand that there are more conservative elements within the party who feel otherwise."

At the end of his resignation letter which was dated 18 May, Lim wrote that he intends to use other platforms and innovative methods to achieve the objective of speaking out for fellow Singaporeans.

Lim took up the position of Secretary-General during the last General Election in 2015 when Hazel Poa announced her resignation from the party due to her disagreement over the decision to contest in MacPherson SMC in a 3 cornered fight against Workers' Party (WP) and People's Action Party (PAP).

Ms Poa in her resignation letter, cited that she sees no choice other than to resign from the party, as the direction of the party that it has decided to pursue has deviated greatly from hers.

Ms Poa also pointed out that the position of sec-gen in NSP is merely the role of a media spokesperson while the real leader of the party is the President. The position of President is currently being held by Mr Sebastian Teo. He has been a stalwart of the party and has been president for some six terms, or 14 years.

In the last ten years, besides the exodus of ordinary members,  NSP has seen a turnover of several sec-gens. Most of them had had stints of less than two years each, in fact, Lim is the longest serving secretary general for a long time.

  • Law Sin Ling: Aug 2006 – Feb 2008 (18 months)
  • Ken Sunn: 2008 – 2009 (less than one year)
  • Goh Meng Seng: Feb 2010 – June 2011 (16 months)
  • Hazel Poa: June 2011 to September 2013 (15 months)
  • Jeannette Chong: Oct 2013 – Jan 2015 (15 months)
  • Tan Lam Siong: 26 Jan 2015 – 17 June 2015 (less than 5 months)
  • Hazel Poa: 25 June 2015 - 19 August 2015 (less than 2 months)
  • Lim Tean: 30 August 2015 - 18 May 2017 (About 21 months)

Below is Lim's letter of resignation in full

Last Thursday (18th May) I informed you of my resignation as Secretary General of the NSP.
I have been SG of the NSP since late August of 2015, a few days before nomination day for GE15.
It was a baptism of fire for me as there were many dramas surrounding our party leading into the last General Elections. However I felt the need to answer the call and to help stabilize the ship.

Over the past 18 months as SG, I have tried to make the NSP a voice for the common man and voice for ordinary Singaporeans. That was the reason why I came into politics, and as SG I felt an increased responsibility to do so.

However, it is has been clear to me for the last few months that my approach and the party’s approach to politics are fundamentally different.

The turning point for me was over the issue of the 30% water hike last March. It was an issue I felt passionately about, and on which I gave a speech at Speakers Corner. It was an issue that troubled most Singaporeans and one that I thought the NSP would wholeheartedly embrace.

I was therefore surprised to learn that elements in the party disapproved of me taking part in the event. I am proud of that speech which has reached over a quarter of a million people, far surpassing any post which the NSP has ever put out.

Another issue over which I have had great differences with the party is over the Elected Presidency. This is one of the greatest Constitutional matters of our time, but again the party chose to remain silent.

I eschew the type of politics where people, especially politicians, are frightened to speak up because of personal considerations. To me that is a complete dereliction of one’s duty.

As Secretary General I made it clear to the party that I would never utter or write anything defamatory and so long as I kept within those parameters I would always exercise my constitutional right of free speech. I understand that there are more conservative elements within the party who feel otherwise.

Our country faces increasing problems and I will continue to speak out for my fellow countryman. I intend to use other platforms and innovative methods to achieve this objective; it is clear however that I cannot continue to be a member of the NSP and I hereby resign my party membership from this date henceforth.

Yours sincerely,
Lim Tean