NSP gets permit to publish newspaper

NSP gets permit to publish newspaper

The opposition National Solidarity Party (NSP) has been given a permit to publish its newspaper, after a nine-month wrangle over information required for renewing the permit.

Party president Sebastian Teo said yesterday that the Registrar of Newspapers has approved its application, and the next issue of North Star News is slated to come out by this month.

The Ministry of Communications and Information, which oversees the Registrar, confirmed yesterday that the green light was given.

It comes nine months after several of NSP's central executive committee (CEC) members refused to give their salary details, as required in the application form. They pointed to privacy and personal confidentiality reasons for their refusal.

Former NSP secretary-general Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss appealed to President Tony Tan Keng Yam last October, saying the Registrar was out of line in insisting on salary data as a pre-condition for getting the permit.

But yesterday, Mr Teo said he did not think "the requirements were unreasonable".

He said: "If that is the standard requirement we have to fulfil, then we have to do it. The Workers' Party and Singapore Democratic Party also do it. They can't be giving us special privileges."

He declined to comment on whether the issue led to Mrs Chong-Aruldoss leaving the NSP, but party insiders told The Straits Times the permit issue had been a sticking point in the party.

They said party cadres were unhappy about the paper's publication being in limbo. North Star News has a print run of about 5,000 copies and is distributed during the party's walkabouts.

The episode caused Mrs Chong-Aruldoss, 51, a lawyer, to lose support, they added. At the party's biennial election in January, she challenged Mr Teo for the post of president and lost. She was also not elected into the CEC.

Mr Teo yesterday disputed some media reports of an exodus of members, saying that two former government scholars, Ms Hazel Poa and her husband Tony Tan, are still with the NSP, and Ms Poa is in the CEC.

yuenc@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Feb 03, 2015.
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