National Solidarity Party to elect new sec-gen today

National Solidarity Party to elect new sec-gen today
National Solidarity Party (NSP) candidate for Mountbatten SMC, Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss (with both hands raised), at the NSP rally for Mountbatten SMC in 2011 General Election.

THE National Solidarity Party (NSP) will elect a new secretary-general today (Oct 27), but young star Nicole Seah has ruled herself out.

Party insiders are touting their vice-president Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss and first assistant secretary-general Reno Fong as popular choices to fill the post.

Second only to the president in the opposition party's leadership hierarchy, the post was vacated last month when former government scholarship holder Hazel Poa stepped down owing to health problems.

Ms Seah, who joined the party in 2011, told The Straits Times on Thursday she was not ready to take on such a "huge responsibility".

"I trust that the congress will elect a representative best suited to take the party forward in serving Singaporeans," she said.

The 27-year-old shot to fame when she was part of the NSP team that contested in Marine Parade GRC during the 2011 General Election. Ms Seah became the party's second assistant secretary-general earlier this year. She is on a short leave of absence but declined to go into the reasons.

NSP president Sebastian Teo, 65, said on Thursday he would leave it to the wisdom of the congress - the party's cadres - to decide who will fill the post.

Any congress member is eligible to run. The party has kept mum on how many cadres it has, but it is understood that 30 to 40 usually turn up for such meetings.

Said Mr Teo: "There are quite a number of good people in the party. It's a matter of whether people are willing to step forward."

The opposition veteran said the post requires time for party activities, and the willingness to contest in the next general election. He pledged to work closely with the next secretary-general.

Mrs Chong-Aruldoss, 50, declined comment on Thursday.

The lawyer, who joined NSP in 2011, contested in the Mountbatten single seat that year and heads NSP's legal committee. Mr Fong would only say: "The person with the best support from the party will be the next secretary-general."

Party insiders pointed to Mrs Chong-Aruldoss being hard-working and knowledgeable about the law as strengths, while Mr Fong had an edge with his political experience. Mr Fong, 44, has contested in three general elections, including in Tampines GRC in 2011.

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