SINGAPORE — Workers' Party (WP) secretary-general Pritam Singh was coy when addressing questions on Wednesday (19 July) on the timing of the online circulation of the video clip which led to the resignations of party members Leon Perera and Nicole Seah.
The 15-second video clip, allegedly showing Perera and Seah in an intimate moment during a dinner, surfaced just hours before the resignation announcements of former Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and Tampines GRC Member of Parliament Cheng Li Hui from the People's Action Party (PAP), following revelations of their extramarital affair.
"Anything that I say now will be speculative," Singh said during the WP media conference.
"I don't really enjoy speculative narratives given my position. And I don't want to encourage speculative statements in public from any of my party members. And I would be very concerned if we went down that road, but I think the fact that you are asking the questions means it's on your mind, and I think you're not wrong; it's on a lot of people's minds.
"But I leave you to draw your own conclusions on the uncanny coincidence of the timing."
Party's stance on honesty and its potential impact on future elections
During the press conference, Singh clarified why he believed that Perera should be expelled from the party if he had not quit due to the affair. He said the expulsion recommendation was not solely due to the affair itself, but rather because Perera had initially lied about the matter when questioned in 2021.
He emphasised that the party values honesty and frankness, and expects its members to be forthright in their dealings with the party and the people of Singapore.
“The reason is that the party has an article in its constitution that it holds very, very close, and that is being frank and honest in your dealings with the party and the people of Singapore,” said Singh.
“And if you fall foul of that, then the consequences are severe."
On the potential impact of these resignations and the previous expulsion of Raeesah Khan in 2021 on the party's chances in the next general election, Singh stated that it is "a bit premature" to determine the number of seats the party will contest in the next election at this stage.
He stressed that the party endeavours to field competent and reputable candidates who can genuinely represent the interests of Singapore, and takes great care in the screening process to select individuals who embody its principles and values.
However, Singh acknowledged that once candidates assume their roles, their actions cannot be fully anticipated or controlled by the party.
“And when you’re fielding candidates, you try your best to find out as much as you can about those individuals. However, you cannot legislate for what they will do after they become candidates," he said.
Remorse and apologies from Perera and Seah
In his resignation letter, Perera expressed remorse to the WP and his constituents in Aljunied for "falling short of the standards expected".
He apologised for not being forthcoming with information when the issue arose within the party, acknowledging that he was asked about it some time back.
Perera also revealed his intention to dedicate time to his family in the coming weeks and months to address the hurt he caused, which he considers his "greatest regret."
Similarly, Seah issued a separate letter, expressing deep regret for tarnishing the party's reputation and the hard work members and volunteers put in.
She acknowledged her actions as selfish and reckless, admitting that her pursuit of impropriety caused "grave disappointment to the voters of East Coast GRC" and the dedicated members and volunteers who supported the party's extensive groundwork.
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