NSP acting sec-gen Hazel Poa resigns, says she strongly disagrees with decision to contest MacPherson

This is the second time Ms Poa has resigned from the NSP. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - The National Solidarity Party's (NSP) acting secretary-general Hazel Poa has resigned from the party and will not contest the next general election, she said in a statement on Wednesday.

The 44-year-old said she was stepping down because she "strongly disagreed" with the party's decision to reverse its decision to withdraw from MacPherson SMC.

She wrote in a statement: "On 17 Aug 2015, the CEC of NSP decided to support Steve Chia's request to contest in MacPherson SMC in a 3 cornered fight against WP and PAP. It was a decision I strongly disagreed with, and hence not one I can implement. As the direction that the party has decided to pursue deviates greatly from my own, I see no choice other than to resign from the NSP."

The statement came minutes after the party announced it was going to contest MacPherson SMC, setting up a possible three-cornered fight at the single-seat ward.

NSP central executive committee (CEC) member Steve Chia is said to have strongly pushed for the party to contest MacPherson SMC. This was put to a vote, with a majority of the CEC opting to support Mr Chia's request.

She said: "Whilst I disagree with the decision that has been taken, I respect the right of the CEC as the decision-making body of the Party to make that call. I wish NSP all the best in the coming GE."

Ms Poa added that unlike in other political parties, the leader of NSP is the president and not the secretary-general, who "plays the role of media spokesperson for the party".

"Therefore, my departure will not result in a situation of the party being leaderless," she said.

She added that her resignation means she will not be contesting the next election.

" I would like to thank all who have encouraged me on my journey and given me helpful pointers, including members of NSP and other political parties, the public and the media. I apologise to all whom I have disappointed. My own disappointment is no less. For me, the coming months will be a time for reflection," she said.

This is the second time Ms Poa has resigned from the NSP.

Ms Poa, a former government scholarship holder and one of the party's star candidates in the 2011 General Election, 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.

She was appointed as acting secretary-general in June after Mr Tan Lam Siong resigned as party chief.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.