Jan Chan, 30, who was the person behind an offensive Facebook post which went viral online, was expelled from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) yesterday (21 Mar).
Chan posted an image of the Bible and the Quran with the accompanying caption, “For use during toilet paper shortages”, on the Facebook page of NUS Atheist Society, which he ran. The offensive post went viral leading the police to investigate the matter.
Chan was formerly with the National Solidarity Party (NSP) from 2014 to last year, before he jumped ship to join PSP. In fact, he was the organising secretary of NSP.
In a statement yesterday, PSP said, “The party highly values the multiracial and multi-religious society that is Singapore, and will not tolerate any of its members showing disrespect to any religion.”
It also said that PSP is not linked to the NUS Atheist Society and added that it takes the behaviour of all its members very seriously. It said it will “endeavour to ensure that all members keep within the boundaries of the law”.
Chan was immediately expelled following internal investigations within PSP.
In a phone interview with the media, Chan said he did not have any malicious intent and regrets making the Facebook post. “Yes I regret it. The wording could possibly have been better… The whole intent was definitely not to insult any religion or cause outrage,” he said.
Earlier this year, Chan was seen taking part in PSP’s door-to-door home visits in West Coast GRC.
Meanwhile, the National University of Singapore (NUS) has posted a message on its Facebook page saying that it has “no relationship” with the NUS Atheist Society and that the Facebook page was not affiliated to the university.
NUS said it had reported the NUS Atheist Society page to Facebook twice – once in 2019, and again on Mar 19, 2020. On both occasions, NUS asked that Facebook look into the legitimacy of the account.
Former NSP members associate with controversies
This is not the first time that former or present NSP members were in the news publicly for the wrong reasons.
During the 2015 General Election, it was revealed that then NSP president Sebastian Teo was once convicted for corruption in the 1970s, much to the surprise of the public as little was known of his history at the time. Teo first stepped into the political arena in the 2001 General Election as an NSP candidate.
According to media report in 2015, he even hid his criminal record from his two adult children. In the 70s, Teo worked in the Defence Ministry’s purchasing department and was convicted in 1979 of taking bribes in exchange for information on successful bid tenders. In his defence, he told the media that he was convinced by his lawyer to plead guilty.
Another was Spencer Ng. He was part of NSP’s Marine Parade GRC team during the 2011 General Election.
During campaigning, allegations of Ng behaving inappropriately towards a student in 2007 when he was teaching at North Vista Secondary School surfaced. After he was introduced as a new candidate to contest in 2011 General Election, the media was tipped-off about an allegation made against him at the time.
In any case, the Education Ministry confirmed that Ng resigned from teaching in 2007, the same year that those allegations were made against him. A check on NSP website shows that Ng is presently the Secretary-General of NSP. Over the years, at least 5 people have resigned from the same Secretary-General position of NSP.
Just today, Ng told the media that NSP would contest the same constituencies that it did in the last General Election. It had contested in MacPherson SMC, Pioneer SMC, Sembawang GRC and Tampines GRC in 2015.
Ng said that he will lead a team to contest in Sembawang GRC, and party president Reno Fong will lead another team to stand in Tampines GRC.
It was earlier reported that PSP has expressed intention to also contest in Sembawang GRC and Pioneer SMC while Workers’ Party had also contested in MacPherson SMC in 2015 against People’s Action Party and NSP in a three corner fight, where NSP’s candidate,Cheo Chai Chen received a mere 0.82% and lost his deposit.