Following an announcement regarding his intention to join a “bigger” and “more effective” party earlier this month, former secretary-general of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Benjamin Pwee has submitted his application to join the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) after heading DPP for six years.
Earlier in a Facebook post, Mr Pwee revealed that the decision was made “after much internal discussion and considerations” with DPP.
He told TODAY Online on Tuesday (19 Feb): “We share and believe in the values and ideals that SDP stands for, and they have many other like-minded credible people,” said Mr Pwee.
“We also believe in their organisational resources and capabilities as a long-standing political party in Singapore.”
The SDP was founded 39 years ago in 1980 by veteran politician Chiam See Tong, and is now led by Chee Soon Juan.
Mr Pwee’s resignation as DPP’s chief was received by the party’s central executive committee on 26 Jan.
Hamim Aliyas, who is previously the party’s chairman, will take over Mr Pwee’s position.
Several other individuals who have also resigned from the DPP include, according to Mr Pwee, those from his “personal circle of government scholar friends”. TOC is unaware of any entries into the party which has been dormant since the last General Election in 2015.
In response to media queries, SDP’s vice-chairman John Tan noted that the party has only received Mr Pwee’s application form as of now, adding that its central executive committee will vet through the application early next month.
TODAY Online quoted Mr Tan as saying that it is crucial for Singaporeans who intend to join the SDP to do so because “they believe in the values of the party”, adding that the same values have “kept the SDP going all these years” and have kept its members “united and focused on our goal to speak up for our fellow citizens”.
Mr Tan remarked: “We have met Mr Pwee and are happy to note that he believes in these values, too.”
Mr Pwee stressed that his decision was not a “knee-jerk” one, and that his move was not about jumping ship, but rather about pooling resources for a shared cause under a more established party.
Prior to his stint in the DPP, Mr Pwee was a member of the Singapore People’s Party (SPP), led by Mr Tong.
Mr Pwee contested in the five-member Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency as part of the SPP team in the 2011 General Election (GE), and contested in the same constituency in the next GE in 2015 in a team that comprised candidates from both SPP and DPP.