SINGAPORE – The head of the Progress Singapore Party’s (PSP) youth wing Terence Soon has quit the party as a member, citing job and family considerations.
In a draft letter to PSP secretary-general Francis Yuen dated Monday (April 26), Mr Soon, who contested last year’s general election, wrote: “As I have been offered employment opportunities overseas, I feel that I would have no choice but to resign from PSP in order to secure a brighter future for my very young family.”
Mr Soon, 30, declined comment. Attempts to reach party chairman Tan Cheng Bock were unsuccessful, while Mr Yuen would only confirm the news, saying: “Terence is leaving the party to pursue a career opportunity overseas.”
The Straits Times understands that Mr Soon, who was previously introduced as a Singapore Airlines pilot, is still in the national carrier’s employ but will be taking up a temporary gig on the side as most flights remain grounded due to the pandemic. This role requires him to be free of political affiliation.
Mr Soon ran in the 2020 general election as part of a five-person team that eventually garnered 36.9 per cent of the vote in Tanjong Pagar, losing out to a People’s Action Party slate led by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.
After being appointed youth head in August last year, Mr Soon as recently as on April 10 participated in an online forum with counterparts from other opposition parties.
In his draft resignation letter, he said the decision to leave was made with a heavy heart.
“I joined PSP to help make Singapore a better place, to create a better future for my daughter and her future generations. My duties and responsibilities as a husband and father, must always first and foremost, be to my family,” he wrote.
Mr Soon also described contesting the election as “a tough yet amazing process” and the honour of his life. He added he would serve his 30-day notice for resignation until May 26.
The PSP on March 28 elected a new central executive committee (CEC) and on April 1 announced that Mr Yuen would be taking over from party founder Dr Tan as secretary-general. The changes came amid rumours of an internal rift, with one online website claiming that some party cadres wanted Dr Tan to step down for “more talented rising stars” to take over.
This followed a public spat between PSP members Kala Manickam and Brad Bowyer in December last year over Covid-19 measures. Ms Manickam then announced that her party membership had lapsed, although the PSP later said her membership had been terminated before the incident.
Officially, the party has rejected any notions of internal squabbling, but members who spoke to ST on condition of anonymity pointed to “differences of opinion” and “friction” over the lack of consultative processes.
“I will not call it a split because there are no power factions within the PSP. All of us are very concerned with how to keep moving this organisation forward,” one member said.
“But to put it bluntly, not all of us agree with the way this place is run.”