Changes after changes in the leadership: What next for Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s PSP?

After 7 major changes less than 2 months ago which shook the party’s fledgling leadership, Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s Progress Singapore Party (PSP) is now weathering through another “storm”, even before it can celebrate its one-year anniversary.  

Michelle Lee, previously from Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and appointed to be PSP vice chairman just seven weeks ago on 17 Jan, has resigned. Not only did she resign from the vice-chairman post, she had quit the party altogether. So drastic was this move that rumours are flying around now speculating the real reason behind Michelle’s departure.

So much so that she has to come out and clarify.

According to TODAY, Michelle said she is leaving politics to focus more on her work as a private teacher. She added that her involvement with PSP over the past year had “taken quite a lot of time away from other things that I do, so my family has been asking me to spend more time with them”.

Nothing wrong with wanting to spend more time with family. But for someone who stood for elections as an SDP candidate in 2011, for someone who decided to join PSP as a founding member, for someone who was credited for her speech at the Aug’s PSP Launch and for someone who just agreed to be vice-chairman of the party weeks ago, the sudden departure from politics is shocking to say the least, especially when elections is drawing nearer and nearer.

Rewind back to Jan, the 6 other changes besides Michelle’s ascent to vice-chairman included having a political newcomer take over the key role of assistant sec-gen from Lee Yung Hwee who stepped down for personal reasons and the introduction of 4 members into the central executive committee (CEC). Lee Yung Hwee, together with Michelle’s predecessor K S Singam, who relinquished his post for health reasons, have remained in the CEC.

Michelle doesn’t.

At 43 and a graduate of the London School of Economics with global experience in finance and consultancy, Michelle had given some fans hope when she joined Dr Tan. Alas, the alliance was short lived. Little wonder that people are now speculating that Michelle has left politics disenchanted. Could it be a clash of opinions? Or was it a disagreement over party management? Or different views over elections strategy? So many possibilities.

With Michelle now gone, people are turning their focus to another high-profile PSP member Brad Bowyer – formerly from PAP and Lim Tean’s People’s Voice Party. It remains to be seen if he will rough it out with PSP during elections, shop for a 4th party to jump to or will he follow the footsteps of Michelle?

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