National Solidarity Party appoints Hazel Poa as acting secretary-general

Ms Hazel Poa has been elected secretary-general of the National Solidarity Party.
Ms Hazel Poa has been elected secretary-general of the National Solidarity Party.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The National Solidarity Party has appointed a new leader, following the abrupt resignation last week of its previous secretary-general after less than five months in the position.

Party president Sebastian Teo said in a statement on Friday that the party's top decision-making body had decided to appoint Ms Hazel Poa Koon Koon as acting secretary-general.

Ms Poa, a former government scholarship holder and one of the party's star candidates in the 2011 General Election (GE), had been elected as the party's secretary-general in June 2011 and again in April 2013, but stepped down suddenly in September 2013 citing health reasons.

Mr Teo said her appointment had been decided by the party's central executive committee (CEC) at a meeting on Thursday.

"In view of the need to focus on preparations for the next General Election, the CEC felt this would not be an appropriate time to call for a Party Congress to elect a new secretary-general," he said in explaining Ms Poa's acting appointment.

He added that she would carry out the duties of the secretary-general "until such time a party congress is called by the CEC".

The opposition party's former secretary-general Tan Lam Siong, who had been elected to the position in January, had quit the role last Wednesday. He remains a "congress member", or cadre member, of the party with voting powers.

NSP had said that Mr Tan wanted "to focus more on his passion for social and community work, and charitable pursuits".

However, in a blog post put up one day after the statement, Mr Tan had said that if he were to identify a "single reason" for his stepping down, it would be "incompatibility issues".

This sparked talk of possible rifts in the party, which has seen three other secretary-generals leave the top post in the last four years.

After the 2011 GE, then secretary-general Goh Meng Seng resigned from the party. His replacement, Ms Poa, was in turn succeeded by lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss.

Ms Chong-Aruldoss then quit earlier this year after an unsuccessful bid to become NSP president during the party's elections.