Amidst Tuesday’s horrific news of the Manchester attacks, Singaporeans may have missed Lawyer Lim Tean’s announcement that he would be quitting the National Solidarity Party (NSP) as Secretary General after two years.
NSP has been troubled by internal strife since GE2011, when ex Secretary-General Hazel Poa resigned, following the dispute between NSP and WP over the contest of single-seat MacPherson.
Fast forward six years and Mr Lim, similarly, cited differences between him and his party members as a reason for his departure.
This was a far cry from his moment of glory back in Sep 2015, when the Cambridge-educated lawyer was “unanimously elected” to the post of Secretary-General.
In his official resignation letter, Mr Lim said “My approach and the party’s approach to politics are fundamentally different.” You can read it in full here.
He cited two specific events: NSP’s disapproval over his participation in the Hong Lim Park Protest over water prices, as well as their refusal to speak up over changes to the Elected Presidency.
It’s a crying shame, really.
The first time I saw Mr Lim was on TV, when he represented NSP on televised debates during GE2015, such as the one here. He was passionate and articulate about his party positions. I believe Lim Tean was one of the more legitimate Opposition politicians. And I believe that he was truly fighting for the Singaporean voice. Some like *cough* Dr Chee *cough*…well, we aren’t so sure.
Back in 2015, he also seemed to be quite the man of vision. In defining the notion of a true national opposition party, he pointed out that Opposition parties had to “drive their own policy cars”; WP’s analogy that they would serve as a check-and-balance over the PAP no longer had relevance.
“I do believe in this new era after GE2015, the time is over where the opposition parties can simply claim to be a check and balance on the PAP. Mr Low Thia Khiang’s analogy of 2011, of the opposition parties being co-drivers with the PAP is no longer relevant… Opposition parties have to be prepared to drive their own policy cars and persuade Singaporean voters to drive in their cars. It is no longer possible for us to hitch a ride on the policy car of the PAP, and to hope to modify a car that does not belong to us.”
What Mr Lim probably did not anticipate was that he would have more trouble persuading his own party, than Singaporeans.
Better luck next time, Mr Lim. We wish you all the best.
And for the rest of us, it’s back to our sleepy socio-political landscape. Sleepier, now.