PSP Agrees To Take Up 2 NCMP Seats In Parliament
After much speculation and debate over Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) seats, Progress Singapore Party (PSP) has finally come to a decision.
They have agreed to take up the 2 seats offered by Elections Department Singapore.
Party secretary-general Leong Mun Wai and vice-chairman Hazel Poa – who were also part of the West Coast GRC team – will officially join Workers’ Party (WP) as “alternative voices” in Parliament.
Party founder Dr Tan Cheng Bock made the announcement in a virtual press conference on Tuesday (14 Jul).
PSP leadership decided on Leong Mun Wai & Hazel Poa
Prior to the announcement, it was unsure whether PSP would agree to take up the 2 NCMP seats. Dr Tan had clarified his stance earlier, saying that he would not accept the offer.
He had left the decision in the hands of the party leadership.
During the press conference, soon-to-be NCMP Mr Leong was asked for his rationale behind accepting this decision as he too had said previously he won’t be accepting the position.
Timber Capital founder and former OCBC Securities managing director Leong Mun Wai
Image courtesy of PSP
He related that it was the party’s choice at the end of the day, and he is humbled by the trust the leadership has in him.
The party needs to represent the 48.5% voters who voted for us and also all the Singaporeans that cheered us in the campaign. That’s also why I changed my mind.
Ms Poa regarded the NCMP offer as an opportunity to bring their voices to Parliament.
Government scholar & Cambridge University graduate Hazel Poa
Image courtesy of PSP
She said she was looking forward to further engage West Coast residents, as the GE2020 campaign period was too short a time for them to get to know each other.
Lots of work still needs to be done. We want to understand their concerns and the aim is to bring their concerns and issues to Parliament.
Both Ms Poa and Mr Leong expressed that they look forward to work with Workers’ Party and bring more alternative voices into Parliament together.
PSP accepts Pritam Singh as Opposition leader
With this latest development, Dr Tan said PSP accepts Pritam Singh as Opposition leader, and the party intends to “go along with him.”
Historically, Dr Tan shared that he’s been quite close with Mr Pritam and WP chairman Sylvia Lim, as all 3 share common interests, ideas, and policies. “So it’s good that we’re going in as a team now,” he quipped.
WP takes the lead and we will help them. I hope to see very good exchanges between the ruling party and this new… alternative group [in Parliament].
PSP were ‘best losers’ among all opposition candidates
During GE2020, PSP team had garnered 48.31% of votes, and eventually lost to the incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP) team – which received 51.69% of the votes – by an extremely slim margin.
This makes the PSP’s West Coast GRC team the ‘best losers’ among all the opposition candidates.
Hence, it is also why the 2 NCMP seats were offered to them.
Maximum of 12 NCMPs in Parliament
If the term NCMP sounds foreign to you, it is a scheme introduced by the Singapore government in 2016 to allow for a maximum of 12 NCMPs in Parliament.
This means that even if 0 opposition candidates were elected as MPs into Parliament, the 12 ‘best losers’ will be offered NCMP seats.
In the case of GE2020, since 10 opposition candidates have been elected as MPs, 2 opposition candidates who garnered the highest proportion of votes in their election division will be offered NCMP seats.
And that’s PSP. We wish Mr Leong and Ms Poa all the best in their new appointments.
What do you think of having a 2nd opposition party join elected MPs in the august house? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Featured image adapted from Facebook.