General Election is upon us now and it’s time to get educated on the different political parties that will be contesting in the upcoming election.
Who are they? What do they stand for? What are their track record?
In this series, we will cover everything you need to know about the party so you can have a better understanding of what they’re about before you cast your votes.
Following our breakdown of the other political parties in Singapore, we are casting the spotlight on the National Solidarity Party (NSP) this time round.
A Quick History Of NSP
The NSP was officially registered on 6 March 1987. It was founded by former People’s Action Party member (PAP) Kum Teng Hock and former Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chairman Soon Kia Seng.
Kum was the founding president of NSP, while Soon was the Secretary-General of the party.
According to Soon, the party’s name reflects its aim — to promote national solidarity.
Ahead of the 2001 general election, the NSP became a founding member of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), along with the Singapore Justice Party (SJP), the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) and the Singapore Malay National Organisation (PKMS).
In 2007, NSP decided to withdraw from the SDA to “explore new possibilities through wider latitude to manoeuvre, re-engineer, and rebuild the NSP”.
Sebastian Teo also took over the leadership of the party from then-Secretary-General Steve Chia. The party acquired a new collective colour of orange for their activity jersey as a sign of vitality, rebirth and unity.
The party is currently led by president Reno Fong and secretary-general Spencer Ng. Unlike other political parties, the president in NSP is the one leading the Party while the Secretary-General is second in the hierarchy.
What Do They Stand For?
According to its 1995 manifesto, the main political objective of the NSP was to organise and maintain a democratic movement that would ensure the solidarity and establishment of a fair political system and standard of living.
The party believed in a multi-party political system so that the rights and interests of the people could be proportionately represented. It still subscribes to that belief and envisions to be a “credible and caring government.”
On its website, it describes itself as a “democratic, pragmatic and progressive political party that treasures values towards building an open society.”
It added that NSP exists to uphold democracy and to provide constructive ideas to benefit the society.
Its 2020 manifesto echoes its belief in fair competition, low unemployment and redistribution of wealth.
NSP calls for the upcoming goods and services tax (GST) hike to be scrapped and for retrenched workers or those in need to be allowed to make temporary withdrawals from their Central Provident Fund Ordinary Account.
Other policy proposals include reducing the cost of public transport, reducing expenditure on defence, smaller class sizes and the provision of comprehensive medical insurance for citizens.
Citizens should be given priority when it comes to employment, the party said.
What Do S’poreans Think About NSP?
In the 2011 election, the party fielded the most candidates of all Opposition parties for the election, with 24 candidates contesting in four Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) and four Single Member Constituencies (SMCs).
This election saw a boost in electoral support for the NSP, notably receiving endorsement from the newly-formed Reform Party along their supporters.
The party was led by then Secretary-General Goh Meng Seng (a former WP candidate, and currently the leader for People’s Power Party), and saw introductions to prominent candidates, which include Nicole Seah, Hazel Poa, Tony Tan Lay Thiam and Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss.
However, despite fielding notable candidates such as former MP Cheo Chai Chen and entrepreneur Hazel Poa, the undefinable branding took a huge toll on the party by a lack of a strong party brand, as the party was defeated in all eight of the contested constituencies.
Many of NSPs members have left the party over the years. Some also went on to start their own political parties.
Former secretary-general Goh Meng Seng founded People’s Power Party in 2015, while former acting secretary-general Lim Tean founded Peoples Voice Party in 2018.
Past General Election Results
The first election that the NSP contested was the 1988 parliamentary general election where it fielded eight candidates, but failed to capture any seats.
For GE 2015, the party expressed intention to contest five constituencies, but the party shortly dropped out on MacPherson and Marine Parade, citing the possibility of multi-cornered contests that were likely to dilute the votes from the incumbent opposition WP and reducing the chance for a more diverse Parliament.
The party changed their mind a few days later, and announced their intention to contest MacPherson SMC citing closeness with the constituency as they had contested there in the prior election.
In response, a few party members — such as acting secretary-general Hazel Poa and CEC member Fazli Talip — resigned from NSP, citing that they were strongly opposed on a very controversial decision to contest MacPherson.
The party initially fielded Chia as the candidate, but he later withdrew on 23 August due to the online abuse that received from him, and the party eventually chose Cheo as a candidate.
Prior to the election, few members had earlier resigned, which members include Nicole Seah and Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss, who later joined Workers’ Party (WP) and Singapore People’s Party (SPP) respectively.
During the campaigning period, Cheo drew public outcry on an interview citing MacPherson’s incumbent Tin Pei Ling’s status as a new mother was “her weakness” and saying that she might spend more time focusing on her child than on her constituents, and later claimed it as a joke.
The party failed to win any of the constituencies, and Cheo had his S$14,500 electoral deposit forfeited as a consequence of garnering less than 12.5% of the valid votes cast for MacPherson (215 or 0.82%).
Where Will They Be Contesting?
The NSP has fielded 10 candidates in Sembawang and Tampines GRCs for the upcoming polls.
NSP secretary-general Spencer Ng will lead the charge in Sembawang GRC. Also included in the team are Ivan Yeo Tiong Boon, Sebastian Teo Kway Huang, Yadzeth Hairis, and new face Sathin Ravindran.
They are up for a rematch against the PAP Sembawang team after losing to them with 27.72 per cent of the vote in the 2015 polls.
The NSP team in Tampines GRC will include NSP president Reno Fong Chin Leong, as well as Choong Hon Heng, Eugene Yeo Ren Yuan, Mohd Ridzwan Mohammad, and Vincent Ng Kian Guan.
In 2015, the NSP Tampines team lost to the PAP with a vote share of 27.93 per cent.
Disclaimer: Vulcan Post does not support or endorse any political parties.
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Featured Image Credit: Ng Kai Yuan via Medium