TL;DR Lack of a rigorous internal investigation shows an “ownself check ownself” mentality by WP and the usual “checkmate” move on own party member.
At a Workers’ Party (WP) press conference earlier today, WP chief Pritam Singh announced both Mr Leon Perera and senior party leader Ms Nicole Seah have resigned from the party.
This press conference was held 2 days after a 15 second clip of both members went viral and an audio confession by Mr Perera’s driver providing illicit details of their transgression was published by the media.
Pritam was informed about the relationship in late 2020/early 2021, but no action was taken
He acknowledged that he had been informed by Mr Perera’s driver sometime around late 2020 and early 2021 through Whatsapp, about Mr Perera and Ms Seah frequent meetings at restaurants and hotels, accompanied by acts of intimacy such as hugging and handholding.
Instead of launching a thorough investigation, Mr Singh merely asked Mr. Perera about the allegations, who promptly denied them. Separately, other CEC members also approached Ms Seah after being informed of the allegation by the driver. Ms Seah echoed the denial.
Mr Singh said that when the video of the two emerged on July 17, it was the first time the party members saw it. Mr Singh then arranged separate meetings with each party member, Mr Perera and Ms Seah, where they ultimately confessed to the affair which had apparently been ongoing since after the general election of 2020 but had “stopped some time ago,”.
Mr Singh himself acknowledged that the party’s constitution mandates candidates to be honest and forthright in their interactions with the party and the people of Singapore. He condemned Mr. Perera’s conduct, describing it as falling short of the expected standards and deemed it unacceptable. Although he claimed he would have recommended Mr. Perera’s expulsion had he not offered his resignation, questions linger as to why such a grave matter was not handled with the urgency it deserved from the start.
Why did he not take immediate action after receiving information about the affair?
It is deeply concerning that Mr Singh did not do a thorough investigation upon receiving the initial allegations in late 2020. Despite the seriousness of the allegations Mr Singh, failed to conduct even the most basic level of investigation- by meeting with the driver involved, raising doubts about the party’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
What was also disconcerting was Mr Singh’s response when asked about the reactions of Mr Perera and Ms Seah after they were confronted of the affair and whether their families were aware of the affair.
In his reply he said, “I think obviously they were disappointed with themselves. Disappointed with the pain they have caused. In Leon’s case the pain he had caused in his family members. In Nicole’s case she had approached her loved ones earlier to speak about the matter. And she had been resolving the matter earlier. The process of healing for her started much earlier after the affair ended.”
How did Mr Singh know that Ms Seah had started her healing journey much earlier? At which point did Mr Singh knew about the affair?
So many questions remain unanswered.
Political parties have a responsibility to demonstrate strong leadership, sound judgment, and a commitment to take immediate action when confronted with controversy.
Mr Singh said Ms Seah submitted her resignation yesterday, while Mr Perera’s resignation was received today. This calls into question WP’s ability to handle such delicate matters swiftly and decisively and whether proper actions were taken to uncover the truth in the best interest of the party and the nation.
Is this the Party you want, Singapore?