WP's Leon Perera steps down as adviser of website under police probe, divests shares in holding company that owns site

Mr Leon Perera leaving the Workers' Party HQ after the Workers' Party Central Executive Council meeting to determine the positions within the party's top decision making body on June 7, 2016. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Workers' Party (WP) Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera said he is no longer an adviser of socio-political site The Independent Singapore (TISG), which is being investigated for violating election advertising rules.

He is also in the process of divesting his shareholding in the company that owns and operates the website, he added.

His announcement, which he posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday (June 8), follows a clarification on June 2 that he is not involved in the management and operations of the website.

Reiterating this in his latest statement, he said: "I have decided to take this additional step to ensure that any perceived link to TISG does not distract public attention when policy positions are taken by the Workers' Party, particularly on issues related to media regulation."

He added: "My recent appointment as deputy chair of the WP media team also makes this a necessary move."

Mr Perera's statements follow a comment People's Action Party MP Tan Wu Meng made last week about his links to TISG.

Dr Tan, an MP for Jurong GRC, made the point when remarking on the WP's statement about the police probe into online posts made on Cooling-Off Day and Polling Day for the May 7 Bukit Batok by-election.

TISG and two other people are being investigated.

The WP had said last week that it was concerned about the way investigations were reportedly conducted after the two individuals said on social media that the police had questioned them for long hours, raided their homes and seized their personal belongings.

Dr Tan, who said the law should be allowed to run its course, said that given Mr Perera's links to TISG, the WP "could be seen as having an interest in the outcome of the investigation".

He added that the party should make every effort "to avoid the impression that it is trying to interfere with the investigation".

Mr Perera was a member of TISG's advisory board. He is also one of six shareholders of Protegesoft company, which owns the website. He owns two million of the company's 8.51 million shares, according to official records.

In Wednesday's statement, he said he is in the process of divesting his shares to the company's other shareholders. It should be completed " in the next month or so", he added.

The other shareholders are TISG editor and publisher Kumaran Pillai, TISG co-founder and veteran journalist PN Balji, publisher of Epigram Books Edmund Wee, lawyer Alfred Dodwell and Ms Sheeba Balakrishnan.

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