SINGAPORE - The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) has distanced itself from the remarks of a key member who disparaged a proposed four-party alliance.
Mr Alex Tan, who is personal assistant to PSP leader Tan Cheng Bock and sits on the party's central executive committee (CEC), had described the leaders of the alliance as captains of "sinking boats" who are just "clasping one another's hands to save themselves from drowning".
In a statement posted on Facebook on Wednesday (Jan 15), the PSP said: "While Alex Tan Tiong Hee is a founding CEC member of the Progress Singapore Party, his statements were made in jest in the context of a casual group chat with friends who included members from the proposed alliance. These comments were then shared and found their way to the mainstream media.
"Please take note that PSP would like to clarify that these comments are not shared by Dr Tan and the rest of the CEC. We deeply respect the years of commitment and sacrifice that other opposition parties and their leaders have put into working for the betterment of our nation."
Mr Alex Tan had spoken to The Online Citizen, which published his remarks on its website on Monday.
He clarified on Tuesday that he had made the remarks in his own individual capacity and that they did not represent his party's stance. "It's my personal view only," he told The Straits Times. "I said so because I love analogies and symbolism and poetry."
The proposed coalition includes the Singaporeans First party (SingFirst), Democratic Progressive Party, People's Power Party (PPP) and Reform Party.
PPP secretary-general Goh Meng Seng said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that he was "utterly disappointed" by the PSP's statement as he did not feel Mr Alex Tan had made the comments "in jest" and felt the statement sought to shift the blame to the culprit who had leaked the comments to the mainstream media.
He pointed out that Mr Alex Tan had repeated those remarks to The Online Citizen editor Terry Xu when asked for his opinion on the planned alliance.
"It really doesn't clear the air to put up such lame excuse and unwarranted insinuation. Be truthful about it. Made a terrible mistake, just admit it and apologise. That's what we call integrity."