Poa resigns after NSP U-turn on MacPherson
The National Solidarity Party (NSP) has been rocked by the resignation of acting secretary-general Hazel Poa on Wednesday (Aug 19) over the opposition party's decision to contest MacPherson single member constituency (SMC).
In an e-mail statement to the media, Mdm Poa said that on Monday (Aug 17), the party's central executive council had decided to support Mr Steve Chia's request to contest in MacPherson SMC in a three-cornered fight against the People's Action Party (PAP) and Workers' Party (WP).
"It was a decision I strongly disagreed with, and hence not one I can implement. As the direction that the party has decided to pursue deviates greatly from my own, I see no choice other than to resign from the NSP," she said.
Adding that the party will not be leaderless as the NSP's sec-gen acts as the media spokesman, Ms Poa added: "Whilst I disagree with the decision that has been taken, I respect the right of the CEC as the decision making body of the Party to make that call. I wish NSP all the best in the coming GE.
"I will therefore not be contesting in the coming GE. I would like to thank all who have encouraged me on my journey and given me helpful pointers, including members of NSP and other political parties, the public and the media. I apologise to all whom I have disappointed. My own disappointment is no less.
"For me, the coming months will be a time for reflection."
Mdm Poa's resignation comes as another blow for NSP, which saw former secretary-general Tan Lam Siong quit in June after holding the post for just five months. Mr Tan will be campaigning as an independent candidate in Potong Pasir SMC.
While NSP contested the Marine Parade group member constituency (GRC) in the 2011 General Election, Mdm Poa had announced on Aug 10 that the party would step aside for the WP to contest Marine Parade and MacPherson against the PAP at the upcoming elections.
The decision was made out of respect to the WP's 2011 performance in Joo Chiat SMC, which has been merged into Marine Parade. As such, the NSP will stand by its earlier decision not to contest in Marine Parade.
Despite meetings between opposition parties to resolve the constituencies they will contest in, NSP's CEC changed their mind on MacPherson following messages of support from residents, the party said in a statement on Wednesday (Aug 19).
In a statement signed off by NSP's Reno Fong, the party's CEC suggested that a lack of communication from WP led to their U-turn over MacPherson.
The statement read: "The CEC strongly supports the decision to proceed with contesting in the SMC where considerable outreach has been done prior to the 2011 General Election.
"This decision made by the CEC is final, and reflects our view that maintaining opposition unity requires mutual respect and a spirit of compromise on the part of all parties."
The NSP statement added that all the opposition parties "had no prior knowledge" of the WP's decision to contest Marine Parade and MacPherson and had "heard of it for the first time".