Opposition veteran Goh Meng Seng applies to set up political party

Opposition veteran Goh Meng Seng applies to set up political party
Mr Goh Meng Seng sheds tears when speaking to the media about the death of his brother in April 2011. Mr Goh, a former member of the National Solidarity Party and Workers' Party, said he has applied to set up a new political party.

Opposition veteran Goh Meng Seng, a former member of the National Solidarity Party (NSP) and the Workers' Party (WP), has applied to set up a political party.

Mr Goh, 45, who contested in Tampines GRC on the NSP ticket in 2011, and in Aljunied GRC on the WP ticket in 2006, said he applied to register the People's Power Party (PPP) last Friday.

His new party hopes to win back middle-ground voters whose confidence in the opposition has been shaken by the "neverending" spat between the Workers' Party-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) and the Ministry of National Development (MND), said Mr Goh.

The ministry and the only opposition-run town council here have been clashing in recent months over AHPETC's finances and management.

The PPP, which has absorbed some former NSP and WP members, will champion greater separation of powers, with a more active role for the President.

It will also advocate a less "lopsided" development approach for Singapore, Mr Goh said. Instead of focusing on economic growth, the PPP will push for a governance approach that balances "the four pillars of the nation: social, cultural, political and economic".

Another priority of the party is to address what Mr Goh sees as "worrying signs" that the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) is clamping down on online freedoms and reneging on earlier promises that it would police the Internet with a light touch.

Asked about his team, Mr Goh would reveal the identities of only two members: Mr Syafarin Sarif, 39, who ran with Mr Goh in Tampines GRC in 2011, and former NSP vice-president Nazryn Azhar Samat, 34.

Mr Goh said he decided to form his own party instead of joining an existing one because he did not want to disrupt other parties' election preparation and management styles.

"Most of our people will come from WP or NSP: people who have gone through the same experiences, learnt the same tricks and have the same traits," he said. "Consensus (between the members) can be built more easily."

Mr Goh, whose team clinched more than 40 per cent of the Tampines vote in the last polls, did not discount returning to the GRC in the next GE, which must be called by January 2017.

He added that he was looking to work with existing opposition parties to avoid three-corner contests. "I am not asking for a fight or an unnecessary contest among the opposition," he said.

yanliang@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 19, 2015.
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