Progress Singapore Party restructures, with new youth, women’s wings, and second-in-command

(Clockwise from top left) Hazel Poa, Leong Mun Wai, Terence Soon, Wendy Low and Francis Yuen from the Progress Singapore Party. — Pictures courtesy of Progress Singapore Party via TODAY
(Clockwise from top left) Hazel Poa, Leong Mun Wai, Terence Soon, Wendy Low and Francis Yuen from the Progress Singapore Party. — Pictures courtesy of Progress Singapore Party via TODAY

SINGAPORE, Aug 5 — The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) on Monday announced a new deputy chief along with other leadership appointments, and has set up new youth and women’s wings as it reorganises itself following the recent General Election (GE).

Francis Yuen, 70, who represented PSP in a televised debate during the election campaign, has taken over from Mr Leong Mun Wai as the party’s assistant secretary-general. The party’s founder, former People’s Action Party (PAP) stalwart Tan Cheng Bock, 80, will remain as secretary-general.

Yuen, a former Republic of Singapore Air Force colonel, led the PSP’s four-person team in its unsuccessful bid for Chua Chu Kang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) at the GE, getting 41.36 per cent of the vote.

Leong and Hazel Poa, who are set to become Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs), will head a newly created parliament secretariat, the party wrote in a statement on its website. The two were part of PSP’s five-man team that narrowly lost to the ruling PAP in West Coast GRC.

The parliament secretariat will consist of members assisting the NCMPs with policy research, PSP spokesperson Kumaran Pillai said.

TODAY reported last month that Leong, 60, will step down as the party’s assistant secretary-general and that Poa, 49, will no longer be its vice-chairman, a position that will be kept vacant for now.

Yuen said in a message to party members on July 19 that the party restructure is to “position the party for the future and begin the process of inducting younger members into roles of responsibility.”

This is PSP’s second reshuffle of its central executive committee (CEC) — its top leadership body — since the party was officially registered in March last year. There was a minor change to its leadership about two months later, when then vice-chairman Michelle Lee left PSP to set up another political party, Red Dot United and Poa, then assistant treasurer, took over as vice-chairman.

PSP’s new youth wing is headed by Singapore Airlines pilot Terence Soon, 30, while the women’s wing is led by intellectual property lawyer Wendy Low, 43. They were both part of the party’s five-man team that unsuccessfully contested Tanjong Pagar GRC, securing 36.9 per cent of the vote.

Yuen told TODAY that in his new role, the immediate plan is to organise and bring members onboard the youth and women’s wings.

“Both Wendy and Terence are driven individuals and I’ll be working with them very closely in the days ahead to establish their organisations,” he said.

The other new appointments announced by PSP are:

Organisation secretariat: Michael Chua, 55, organising secretary and CEC member

Head of communications and media: Ong Seow Yong, 63, CEC member

Press liaison: Kumaran Pillai, 49, former publisher of sociopolitical website The Independent Singapore

IT and data security: Harish Pillay, 60, head of community architecture and leadership, and chief technology architect at IT firm Red Hat

Administration and logistics: Damien Tay, 51, a customer service manager

Movements at Reform Party

Separately, the Reform Party’s Charles Yeo yesterday wrote on Instagram that he had been elected by the party’s leadership as chairman.

However, the party's chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam later clarified on Tuesday evening that Mr Yeo’s appointment has not been finalised.

The party has started an internal review of the election, which includes grooming new leaders in the party, Jeyaretnam told TODAY, adding that an official announcement will be made in the coming days.

Its incumbent chairman since 2015 is Andy Zhu, 37, a marketing director at a real estate agency.

Yeo, 30, a lawyer, has been a party member since late 2018 and was the party’s campaign manager for the GE.

Zhu, Yeo and Jeyaretnam were part of the five-man team that unsuccessfully contested Ang Mo Kio GRC with 28.1 per cent of the vote against a PAP team led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

 

Yeo is now embroiled in a harassment lawsuit for making allegations and racially charged comments against a prominent lawyer, accusing the lawyer of sexual misconduct. He had not responded to an emailed request for comment by press time. — TODAY

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