THE National Solidarity Party (NSP) has appointed a new secretary-general, following last week's surprise decision by Mr Tan Lam Siong to step down after less than five months in the post.
NSP president Sebastian Teo, 66, said yesterday the central executive committee (CEC) picked Ms Hazel Poa Koon Koon as acting secretary-general.
Ms Poa, 44, a former government scholarship holder who contested in Chua Chu Kang GRC in the 2011 General Election, held the post previously from June 2011 to September 2013, when she stepped down, citing health reasons.
Explaining the decision made on Thursday, Mr Teo said: "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."
Ms Poa will hold the post "until such time a party congress is called by the CEC", he added.
The opposition party's former secretary-general, Mr Tan, was elected in January this year but stepped down on June 17. The 53-year-old lawyer remains a cadre member with voting powers.
In a blog post last week explaining his decision, Mr Tan said if there was a "single reason" for his decision, it would be "incompatibility issues".
This sparked talk of possible rifts in the NSP, which has had three other secretaries-general in four years: businessman Goh Meng Seng, 45; Ms Poa; and lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, 51, who quit the NSP after an unsuccessful bid to become NSP president at party elections this year.
Mr Teo dismissed talk of rifts and said the changes were a conscious effort to try out new members in key posts. "We wanted to see which new face can really help the party. That's why we let them hold key posts and run for elections in 2011."