In a Facebook post today, former People’s Action Party (PAP) member of parliament (MP) Inderjit Singh clarified that he was neither forced to step down from his position nor is he leaving the PAP, a party with which he has served for almost 20 years.
Responding to netizens who posted some of his more critical speeches against his own party and the government, he dispelled claims that it was his speeches which drove him out of the party.
“I read with amusement that some people have taken my old speeches and reposted them with a headline that I have left the PAP. The white paper speech was made in early 2013 and the one on the response to the president address was posted in May 2014.”
He revealed that he had asked to step down as an MP since 2nd January 2013. He wrote that he wanted to focus more on work and family instead, but would remain a PAP member and will be assisting the PAP in election campaign in Ang Mo Kio.
On Sunday, PAP organising secretary Ng Eng Hen, who is Defence Minister, had said during an interview with reporters that the party wanted to handle the retirement of its MPs smoothly, in a “more deliberate and dignified manner”.
He added: “You can post your retirement on Facebook but I think… an MP who has served 15, 20 even 30 years… that’s not the best way to do it. For many of them, they’ll have to prepare their ground, ensure… continuity and say goodbyes.”
Some online sites took this as a reference to Mr Singh – the only MP to have announced his retirement on Facebook – and said it was a sign of “infighting” in the PAP.
But Mr Singh said on Tuesday when asked to comment: “If there was infighting, would I be helping PM Lee with his campaign?”
Separately, Mr Ng also told The Straits Times when asked about his comments: “When I read that Inderjit was retiring, two thoughts came into my mind. First, that at 55, he had many more years to contribute, and was big-hearted to retire now, so that younger candidates could stand in his place.
“I have great respect for Inderjit and learnt from his many good speeches in Parliament. He has a heart for the daily struggles of Singaporeans and could put it across in heartfelt and effective ways. When he spoke, Ministers took note, and followed up. He was a people’s MP.
“Second, I thought we should do better than just Facebook postings for retiring MPs. After many years of service, the party should try to find a more dignified and deliberate way to announce their retirement. So when we announce new candidates, whenever possible, we will do it together with their retiring MPs, that they are taking over. I hope this approach will do justice to the many years of contribution that MPs like Inderjit have given to serve their residents.”