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Former Reform Party CEC members and others set up new opposition party

SINGAPORE — Several former central executive committee (CEC) members have left the Reform Party (RP) to form a new political party, along with other ex-RP members as well as several others.

Mr Andy Zhu (left) is the secretary-general of the new Singapore United Party. Ms Joyce Tan (right) is its chairman.

Mr Andy Zhu (left) is the secretary-general of the new Singapore United Party. Ms Joyce Tan (right) is its chairman.

  • Former Reform Party chairman Andy Zhu is among eight ex-RP members in the new party, which has been registered as the Singapore United Party 
  • Mr Zhu is the secretary-general, while former Singapore Democratic Party member Joyce Tan has been named chairman
  • The new party has 11 members so far 
  • Ms Tan said the party would champion women’s rights, apart from representing residents on bread-and-butter issues

 

SINGAPORE — Several former central executive committee (CEC) members have left the Reform Party (RP) to form a new political party, along with other ex-RP members as well as several others.   

The new party, the Singapore United Party (SUP), is led by former RP chairman Andy Zhu, 38, as the secretary-general. It has 11 members so far — comprising eight former RP members and three others. 

Speaking to TODAY on Friday (Jan 1), Mr Zhu said SUP was registered with the Registry of Societies on Dec 24. He stressed that the new party does not want to be seen as a splinter group from RP, and he was keen to avoid any animosity.

“It is not that (the former RP members) left the party to join me. It was not a plot or anything. It is just that they left (RP), we went out for coffee, and it just happened,” he said. “We are just a group of like-minded people coming together to serve residents.”

He added: “We wish (RP) all the best and don’t see them as an enemy.”

In August last year, RP chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam said Mr Zhu and Ms Noraini Yunus, who was then RP’s treasurer, were removed from RP’s CEC “by a unanimous vote” due to undisclosed allegations. Mr Zhu later took to Facebook to criticise what he called an “undemocratic” move. 

A few CEC members had told TODAY that Mr Zhu and Ms Noraini were accused of not following proper procedures when handling the party’s bank account. There was no misappropriation of funds. 

Apart from being stripped of their positions, Mr Zhu and Ms Noraini were barred from holding office in RP. 

Mr Zhu had joined RP in 2008 and served as its chairman for nine years before he was removed. 

He was replaced by Mr Charles Yeo as RP’s chairman. 

Contacted by TODAY on Friday, Mr Yeo said RP would issue a statement next Tuesday and declined further comment.

Nevertheless, in a series of Instagram stories on Thursday, Mr Yeo said that he had called for a party meeting to talk about SUP’s formation and described Mr Zhu as someone who had engaged in “factionalism” at RP.

Apart from Mr Zhu and Ms Noraini, the former RP members who have joined SUP include Mr Darren Soh Guan Soon. 

Mr Zhu, Ms Noraini and Mr Soh were part of RP’s team — together with Mr Jeyaretnam and Mr Yeo — that contested Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency in the 2020 General Election (GE). The RP slate garnered 28.1 per cent of the votes. 

Mr Mohd Ali Kamal Batcha and Mr Mohammed Affendy Abdul Rahim, who had remained on RP’s CEC after the removal of Mr Zhu and Ms Noraini, have also joined SUP. 

As of Friday night, Mr Mohd Ali and Mr Mohammed Affendy were still listed as CEC members on RP’s website. 

Adding that the former RP members had left the party after the GE of their own accord, Mr Zhu said: “We are a group of like-minded people who can gel together, so after some discussions, we decided to form our own party to carry on our work and to give back to the society.” 

Among the SUP members who were not part of RP previously are former Singapore Democratic Party member Joyce Tan, who was named SUP’s chairman, and Mr Choo Zin Chye, who is Mr Zhu’s father. 

Mr Zhu said it took almost two months for the group to firm up plans for a new party. They filed the application to register the party with the Registry of Societies on Oct 27.

Asked why the group had chosen to start a party instead of joining another party, he said: “We really think alike and can work together. We are in sync with each other, and we know what each of us wants to do. Joining a party wouldn’t get us a new outcome.”

In a press statement issued on Thursday, SUP said it would "provide an alternative platform for like-minded people to join the party and raise the concerns of its citizens”.

SUP is the latest opposition party to join an already-crowded political landscape. 

In all, 10 opposition parties took part in last year’s GE. Analysts had previously told TODAY that given the current landscape, it is harder for the smaller parties to remain relevant, and consolidation could be a way forward.

In response, Ms Tan said: “What is important is that we are championing different topics… Our representation will be slightly different than the other parties.”

She said that SUP would champion women’s rights, apart from representing residents on bread-and-butter issues.

The 34-year-old founder of a public relations firm said she believes in delivering constructive criticism, and is passionate about issues relating to the education system and women’s glass ceiling at the workplace.

Related topics

Singapore United Party Reform Party Andy Zhu Joyce Tan Singapore politics

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