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Progress Singapore Party’s Leong Mun Wai, Hazel Poa to take up NCMP seats

SINGAPORE — Mr Leong Mun Wai, assistant secretary-general of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), and its vice-chairman Hazel Poa will take up the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) seats offered to the party following the General Election (GE).

Progress Singapore Party members (from left) Hazel Poa, Tan Cheng Bock and Leong Mun Wai during a press conference at the party's headquarters on July 14, 2020.

Progress Singapore Party members (from left) Hazel Poa, Tan Cheng Bock and Leong Mun Wai during a press conference at the party's headquarters on July 14, 2020.

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  • Decision on NCMP nominees finalised with Elections Department 
  • Both Mr Leong and Ms Poa are former government scholars
  • NCMPs will accept WP chief Pritam Singh as Leader of the Opposition and work with him
  • Dr Tan will continue “walking the ground” and train younger party members 
     

SINGAPORE — Mr Leong Mun Wai, assistant secretary-general of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), and its vice-chairman Hazel Poa will take up the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) seats offered to the party following the General Election (GE).

PSP secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock announced this on Tuesday (July 14) at a press conference held at the party’s headquarters in Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, adding that the decision “is official” and has been finalised with the Elections Department Singapore (ELD).

Dr Tan, 80, said that an important consideration in choosing Mr Leong, 60, and Ms Poa, 50, is that they are bilingual and will be able to better engage non-English-speaking Singaporeans. 

The announcement means that Dr Tan will pass on the opportunity to re-enter Parliament to make way for his younger teammates. 

Throughout the campaign, the former People’s Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament (MP) of 26 years had said repeatedly that he would not take up an NCMP seat, as he had already had his time in Parliament as an elected MP.

Mr Leong had also told reporters during the campaign that he would not want to take up an NCMP position, but noted that he would defer to Dr Tan on the matter.

Asked again on Sunday after the conclusion of the polls, Mr Leong would only say that it “depends on the party”.

PSP’s choices for the NCMP seats — Mr Leong and Ms Poa — are former government scholars who contested the West Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in the July 10 General Election (GE). 

Mr Leong was also the former managing director of OCBC Securities, the brokerage arm of OCBC bank, and he is now the chief executive officer of investment firm Timbre Capital. 

Ms Poa, who had worked at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance, runs an education business with five centres and a private school. She was previously with the National Solidarity Party and the Reform Party. 

PSP’s West Coast GRC team emerged as the “best-performing losers” in the GE, garnering 48.31 per cent of the vote against PAP. 

The NCMP scheme grants seats to losing opposition candidates with the highest percentage of votes to guarantee at least 12 opposition MPs in Parliament. 

There will be two NCMPs this time around, because 10 members from the Workers’ Party (WP) were elected.

The other members in PSP’s West Coast GRC team are educator Nadarajah Loganathan, 57, and marketing executive Jeffrey Khoo, 51.

RESERVATIONS ABOUT NCMP ROLE

On Tuesday, Mr Leong said that he changed his mind about taking up the NCMP position because he was “humbled by the trust” that the party had placed in him to take up the mantle, among other things. 

During the campaign period, Mr Leong had told the media that if he were offered the NCMP seat, he would refuse it should it be his choice to make but added that he would defer to Dr Tan on the matter.

Ms Poa said that she also had reservations about the NCMP scheme because she was afraid that it “would weaken the efforts to make the Government listen”.

However, the GE2020 results had demonstrated to her that her fears were “unfounded”. 

“The voters can see what’s at stake and I am very much encouraged by the development and the very good performance by the Workers’ Party, and my heartiest congratulations,” she said.

PSP WILL WORK WITH THE WORKERS’ PARTY

Dr Tan said that Mr Leong and Ms Poa would accept WP's secretary-general Pritam Singh as Leader of the Opposition — an appointment he recently received — and work with him. 

“We will help them, and they will also give out and share information,” he said.

Mr Leong added that there is “a lot of room” for WP and PSP to cooperate and that they already share “many common things, ideas, policies and so forth”.

Pointing out that problems faced by Singaporeans are mostly the same, he said that their policies to tackle those issues are going to be “more or less aligned”.

Mr Leong said that as an NCMP, he would demonstrate to Singaporean voters that a strong alternative voice is good for the country. 

Ms Poa said that over the next five years, PSP will better engage the residents of West Coast GRC by holding meet-the-people sessions and interacting with them through house visits. 

“Our aim is to bring their concerns and issues into Parliament,” she said.

Dr Tan said: “We are not the type to just come, lose and run away. We will go to the ground. I will personally… walk the ground and train these young people on how to earn the votes. We never expect the votes.”

Asked whether his team was going to focus on other constituencies besides West Coast GRC, Dr Tan replied: “That’s a strategy I won’t tell you.”

PSP WILL WORK WITH THE WORKERS’ PARTY

Dr Tan said that Mr Leong and Ms Poa would accept WP secretary-general Pritam Singh as “Leader of the Opposition” — an appointment he recently received — and work with him. 

“We will help them, and they will also give out and share information,” he said.

Mr Leong added that there is “a lot of room” for WP and PSP to cooperate and that they already share “many common things, ideas, policies and so forth”.

Pointing out that problems faced by Singaporeans are mostly the same, he said their policies to tackle those issues are going to be “more or less aligned”.

Mr Leong said that as an NCMP he would demonstrate to Singaporean voters that a strong alternative voice is good for the country. 

Ms Poa meanwhile said that over the next five years they will better engage the residents of West Coast GRC by holding Meet-the-People sessions and interacting with them through house visits. 

“Our aim is to bring their concerns and issues into Parliament,” she said.

Dr Tan added: “We are not the type to just come, lose and run away. We will go to the ground. I will personally…walk the ground and train these young people how to earn the votes. We never expect the votes.”

Asked whether his team was going to focus on other constituencies besides West Coast GRC, Dr Tan replied: “That’s a strategy I won’t tell you.”

Related topics

PSP NCMP Leong Mun Wai Hazel Poa Singapore General Election SGVotes2020

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