Can Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Get Its Act Together?

I’ve always thought that a party with the word “Progress” in its name would be more… progressive in its actions and speech.

However so many things have happened that made me question whether the word “Progress” is just for show.

PSP Jan Chan’s membership suspended, allegedly behind NUS Atheist Society Facebook page

Today I read news that Progress Singapore Party (PSP) suspended the membership of a Jan Chan, allegedly behind the NUS Atheist Society Facebook page, which is now the subject of a police investigation.

This is because the NUS Atheist Society posted a Facebook post which depicted the Bible and Quran as alternatives to be used in the event of a toilet-paper shortage, that caused a number of complaints to be made to the police.

Even after Facebook limited access to this Facebook post yesterday, NUS Atheist Society still posted a screenshot of the notification from Facebook with the caption: “Thanks for convicting us of thoughtcrime. Therefore, please use these discretely during times of toilet paper crisis.”.

Did PSP know about Jan Chan’s involvement with NUS Atheist Society Facebook page in advance?

Although I could not find any online mention prior to PSP’s announcement that Jan Chan was confirm behind this Facebook page, PSP Tan Cheng Bock had quickly come out to say “his membership is pending internal investigations for actions made in his personal capacity.”.

PSP also stressed that PSP is not linked to the NUS Atheist Society.

Did PSP already know Jan Chan was involved in this beforehand hence they quickly distanced themselves from him?

What else gave PSP a bad rep?

1. Vice-chairman leaves PSP

Things seem to be messy for PSP.

Just earlier this year, Ms Michelle Lee left PSP about six weeks after taking up the post of vice-chairman, apparently to spend more time with family (although there were rumours that she left due to disagreements on the appointment of the new PSP central executive committee CEC members).

Former Nominated MP Eugene Tan said, “Nobody will buy the reason that she wants to spend more time with family, even if it’s the truth”, adding that her resignation reflects that PSP is “still finding its internal equilibrium”.

He said if PSP’s internal issues were not addressed, it could be the first of more departures, noting that former assistant secretary-general Anthony Lee stepped down in January, citing personal reasons.

2. Personal assistant to PSP leader Tan Cheng Bock disparages other opposition leaders

In January 2020, news broke that Mr Alex Tan, personal assistant to PSP leader Tan Cheng Bock and also sits on the party’s central executive committee (CEC), had described the leaders of a proposed alliance as captains of “sinking boats” who are just “clasping one another’s hands to save themselves from drowning”.

These leaders came from Singaporeans First Party (SingFirst), Democratic Progressive Party, People’s Power Party (PPP) and Reform Party.

PPP secretary-general Goh Meng Seng was “utterly disappointed” by the PSP’s statement as he did not feel Mr Alex Tan had made the comments “in jest”.

3. PSP member goes down in history as first person to be POFMA-ed

On 25 November 2019, PSP member Brad Bowyer was the first person in history to be issued a Correction Direction for his Facebook page for implying that the Singapore Government controls Temasek’s and GIC’s commercial decisions, among other things.

(Correction Direction means he only needs to post a notice on top of his Facebook post, so you can still check out his statements on his Facebook page).

4. Poor review of PSP’s press conference to mark their inauguration

Rice Media, an alternative website which attended PSP’s press conference, gave poor reviews of how PSP fared:

“his (Tan Cheng Bock’s) introductory speech felt… empty and disappointing”

“the single glaring point about the press conference: PSP’s repeated evasion of all questions pertaining to their policy and plans”

“they (PSP) stuck with treating the media as adversaries, and not allies. They weren’t prepared to answer hard questions with a degree of specificity required for the media to sufficiently educate and inform the public.”

“While it’s important for a politician’s heart to be in the right place, it’s equally important for us to know that they are competent or right for the job. Given the perfect opportunity to do the latter, it is regrettable that PSP did not.”

Can PSP get its act together, not just for the General Election 2020, but to actually run Singapore competently if they are voted to lead our country?

 

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