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Former opposition leader Benjamin Pwee to join Singapore Democratic Party

SINGAPORE — Weeks after leaving the political party that he has led for six years, Mr Benjamin Pwee revealed on Tuesday (Feb 19) that he has decided to join the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

Mr Benjamin Pwee (pictured), who used to lead the Democratic Progressive Party, said that making the move to join the Singapore Democratic Party was not a "knee-jerk" decision.

Mr Benjamin Pwee (pictured), who used to lead the Democratic Progressive Party, said that making the move to join the Singapore Democratic Party was not a "knee-jerk" decision.

SINGAPORE Weeks after leaving the political party that he has led for six years, Mr Benjamin Pwee revealed on Tuesday (Feb 19) that he has decided to join the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

In a Facebook post, Mr Pwee, 51, the former leader of the Democratic Progressive Party, said that he and a few others have submitted their membership application forms to the party.

"We share and believe in the values and ideals that SDP stands for, and they have many other like-minded credible people," said Mr Pwee. "We also believe in their organisational resources and capabilities as a long-standing political party in Singapore."

Mr Pwee told The Straits Times earlier this month that he planned to join a “bigger, more effective” party, after having led the DPP for six years.

The DPP’s central executive committee accepted Mr Pwee’s resignation as secretary-general on Jan 26, with Mr Hamim Aliyas — previously the party’s chairman — assuming Mr Pwee’s post.

Speaking to TODAY on Tuesday, Mr Pwee said that he chose to join SDP because he believes in the “many quality and credible people they have and are attracting”.

“We also have many good friends in the SDP,” he said.

Aside from him, there are three to four other individuals who have also applied to join the SDP. They include some who also recently resigned from the DPP, as well as people “from my personal circle of government scholar friends”, Mr Pwee said, but did not reveal who these individuals are.

He noted that they are still waiting for SDP's official decision regarding their applications and will leave it to the party to announce its decision on whether it will take in Mr Pwee and the other individuals.

Responding to TODAY’s queries, SDP’s vice-chairman John Tan said that his party has received Mr Pwee’s membership application form, which was submitted this week.

“We have received only his application so far,” Mr Tan added, saying that the party’s central executive committee will go through it in early March.

Mr Tan said it is important that Singaporeans who join the SDP — which focuses on being a "competent, constructive, compassionate" party — do so because "they believe in the values of the party”. These values have “kept the SDP going all these years” and have kept its members “united and focused on our goal to speak up for our fellow citizens”, he added.

“We have met Mr Pwee and are happy to note that he believes in these values, too.”

When asked why he was making the move only now, Mr Pwee said that this decision had been “in discussion within the DPP for the past year”. It was a “considered decision”, he added.

Mr Pwee said: “It is not a knee-jerk decision and it is not about jumping ship. It is about consolidating into a larger, more well-established party and combining forces and resources for a similar shared cause.”

Before leading the DPP, Mr Pwee was a member of the Singapore People’s Party (SPP), which was headed by veteran politician Chiam See Tong.

Back in the 2011 General Election, Mr Pwee contested in the five-member Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency as part of the SPP team.

In the 2015 polls, he again contested in the constituency, this time in a team made up of candidates from both SPP and DPP.

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