SINGAPORE - The National Solidarity Party (NSP) has a new secretary-general, after legal consultant Lim Tean was unanimously elected to the post.
The 50-year-old legal consultant was introduced at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, together with fellow NSP president Sebastian Teo, 67, business consultant Nor Lella Mardiiiah Mohamed, 41, assistant secretary-general Reno Fong, 46, and business administrator Choong Hon Heng, 45.
The five-man team are contesting Tampines GRC, and hope to unseat the incumbent People's Action Party team led by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, backbencher Baey Yam Keng, and newcomers Desmond Choo and Cheng Li Hui.
Speaking at the party office in Katong, Mr Lim said he has been an ordinary member with the NSP until he assumed leadership roles recently.
He said: "If the time is right, the position will call for you. My first task as secretary-general is to help (the) president and central executive committee to run an effective campaign across all constituencies."
When asked why assistant secretary-general Fong was not chosen as new chief, Mr Teo said: "Lim Tean has unanimous vote. Everyone has their own (role) to play - we cannot force people into roles."
Mr Lim dismissed claims that the party has been hit by internal splits ahead of the Sept 11 General Election.
The NSP's lead-up to the general election has been tumultuous, with then-acting secretary-general Hazel Poa quitting the party after a U-turn decision to contest the single-seat MacPherson.
Mr Steve Chia, the party's choice to run in MacPherson, later reversed his decision to contest in the ward, abruptly announcing on his Facebook page that he will not stand in any constituency.
On Tuesday, the NSP unveiled its pick to contest MacPherson - former Nee Soon Central MP Cheo Chai Chen. He will square off against the PAP incumbent Tin Pei Ling, and Mr Bernard Chen from the Workers' Party.
Said Mr Lim: "This question keeps cropping up. To me, it's already in the past . We have put it behind us. We are run on democratic principles. If people want to join other political parties, they can. The president is first among equals. I think it's healthy to have a contest of ideas and I think this is the direction Singapore should head in as well."
Mr Lim added that the WP should have allowed the NSP a straight fight in MacPherson if it wanted to avoid a three-cornered fight.
"The NSP is (the) most active party (in) supporting opposition unity, and tried to avoid three-cornered fights. MacPherson used to be part of Marine Parade GRC where NSP did well in the last general election," said Mr Lim.
The NSP came up short against the PAP in 2011, winning 43.4 per cent of the votes in the GRC.
Said Ms Nor Lella at the press conference: "I have been on the ground helping residents with their problems (such as)... helping people who want to rent flats but are not able to do so because they owe the Housing Development Board money."
Mr Teo also pledged to give his allowance as an MP towards an education fund for Malay residents in Tampines if elected.
No election rallies have been confirmed so far for the NSP.