The much talked about opposition alliance consisting of Singaporeans First party (SingFirst), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), People’s Power Party (PPP), and Reform Party (RP) visited the Ang Mo Kio GRC last weekend for their first combined outreach in conjunction with Chinese New Year 2020.
On Sunday morning (20 Jan), members of all four parties – of about 20 individuals with the absence of RP’s Secretary General, Mr Kenneth Jeyaratnam – gathered at the AMK Hub armed with boxes of mandarin oranges to give out to residents of the area.
Sharing the event on their respective Facebook pages, the parties wished residents of Ang Mo Kio a prosperous and happy lunar New Year.
PPP’s secretary-general Goh Meng Seng described the event as “a very successful first combined CNY outreach”, adding that the warm reception they received far exceeded his expectations.
This is the first public outreach event conducted since the alliance was announced early this year.
Tension between PSP and the alliance
There has been some tension brewing amongst members of the alliance and Progress Singapore Party’s founding central executive committee (CEC) member Alex Tan who commented to TOC that the leaders of the parties forming the alliance are “like four captions from their respective sinking boats – not even a ship! – clasping one another’s hands to save themselves from drowning”.
Unsurprisingly, Mr Tan’s comments drew the ire of the proposed alliance members. PSP’s Mr Goh said he was “greatly disappointed” that Mr Tan has shown such “animosity” towards the proposed alliance.
The outbursts of politicians compelled Mr Tan to clarify that he had made those remarks in a personal capacity to TOC, explaining that it was not a reflection of the PSP’s stance on the alliance and its leaders.
However, Mr Goh then said that even though Mr Tan made those comments in a personal capacity, his position as a CEC member of PSP and personal assistant to party-leader Dr Tan Cheng Bock means that his words “carry tremendous weight”, and would influence his party’s overall mindset and direction.
On top of that, SingFirst Party chief Tan Jee Say urged Dr Tan to issue a public statement to clarify his party’s stance on Mr Tan’s remarks, and to “set the record straight”.
PSP did later put out a public statement to say: “While Alex Tan Tiong Hee is a founding CEC member of the Progress Singapore Party, his statements were made in jest in the context of a casual group chat with friends who included members from the proposed alliance.”
“Please take note that PSP would like to clarify that these comments are not shared by Dr Tan and the rest of the CEC,” it added.
PSP will have ‘loose associations’ with the alliance for now
During his speech at the party’s New Year dinner last Friday (17 Jan), the 79-year old party leader said that PSP will be working with all opposition parties, adding that an arrangement may be worked out closer to the general elections.
Dr Tan has been approached by the opposition alliance to be its leader but he has declined to participate for now.
Speaking to reporters after the event, Dr Tan said that the PSP will have a “loose association” with other opposition parties for now.
“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 to members of the media.
And on the subject of Mr Tan’s remarks and whether that saga has damaged PSP’s relationship with the other parties, Dr Tan says it is a “hiccup”, adding that sometimes things happen in politics.
“Don’t be too worked up by it,” he added.