Ex-NSP leader quits to join Chiam's SPP

Ex-NSP leader quits to join Chiam's SPP
Former NSP secretary-general Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss, seen in this 2011 file photo.

Former National Solidarity Party (NSP) secretary-general Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss has quit the party to join the Singapore People's Party (SPP), helmed by veteran politician Chiam See Tong.

The 51-year-old lawyer, who lost a bid to become NSP president at party polls in January, left with former council members Ravi Philemon, 46, and Bryan Long, 37, and party member Osman Sulaiman, 39.

Speaking yesterday before accompanying Mr Chiam and his wife, Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam, on a walkabout in Bishan Street 24, Mrs Chong-Aruldoss acknowledged the decision came in the wake of the NSP central executive committee election results.

But she said there was no ill-will towards the party.

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss, who joined the NSP in 2011 and became secretary-general in October 2013, challenged party stalwart Sebastian Teo, 66, for the presidency in January.

Party insiders said at the time that both had different ideas on how to take the NSP forward.

Mr Philemon, a community worker who joined the NSP in July 2012 and was co-opted to the previous central executive, stood against lawyer Tan Lam Siong, 53, for the post of secretary-general.

Both Mr Teo and Mr Tan won by wide margins.

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss tendered her resignation from the NSP last week, along with Mr Philemon, Mr Long and Mr Osman. All except Mr Osman have submitted their applications to join the SPP.

Mrs Chiam, chairman of the SPP, said the four have good potential. "They will help spearhead our party... to greater heights."

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss yesterday expressed admiration and respect for Mr Chiam and the values and ideals he stood for in Parliament.

Mr Tan said the NSP has received the resignations. "As far as the NSP is concerned, there are no hard feelings. We wish them well."

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss, who ran in Mountbatten in 2011, said she will leave it to the SPP to decide where she will contest in the next election, which must be held by January 2017.

Mrs Chiam did not give much away, but said the SPP will put a "very strong team" in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. Mr Chiam led an SPP team there in 2011, but lost. Mrs Chiam was unsuccessful in Potong Pasir, but entered Parliament as an NCMP.

Political observer and Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan said the NSP departures were "not surprising... there was a sense that they could not pursue their plans with NSP, and were looking for a party that is more aligned with their political aspirations".

waltsim@sph.com.sg 


This article was first published on March 2, 2015.
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