Two senior members of Singapore’s largest opposition party have quit after admitting to an inappropriate relationship, the latest scandal to hit a country otherwise used to stable and drama-free politics.
The Workers’ Party (WP) said on Wednesday that member of parliament Leon Perera and its youth wing president Nicole Seah had handed in letters of resignation after a video circulated on social media earlier this week showing the pair holding hands.
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“The constitution of the Workers’ Party requires candidates to be honest and frank in their dealings with the party and the people of Singapore,” Singh said, adding that Perera had been untruthful when first asked about the relationship in late 2020 to early 2021.
Seah had also denied the relationship when asked by party leaders at that time, Singh said, adding the pair’s behaviour was “unacceptable”.
This is the third scandal to rock Singapore’s political landscape within a week.
The prime minister recently approved a graft probe into Transport Minister S. Iswaran, who was arrested last week alongside hotel tycoon Ong Beng Seng. The two were later freed on bail. Details of the investigation have not been released.
Last week, Transport Minister S Iswaran was arrested alongside hotel tycoon Ong Beng Seng following a corruption investigation. The two were later freed on bail. Details of the investigation have not been released.
On Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the speaker of parliament and another lawmaker from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) had resigned over their years-long extramarital affair. The pair had refused to end the affair despite being advised.
Lee said he had accepted the resignations of Parliament Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin and lawmaker Cheng Li Hui as they fell short of the “high standards of propriety and personal conduct” expected of all lawmakers.
Both the WP and the PAP have in the past sacked members over extramarital relationships.
National University of Singapore political scientist Chong Ja Ian said as the governing party, the PAP had more to lose in light of the scandals engulfing its members, and that voters would judge its actions at the polls, due by 2025.
“The unknown is how many voters find [the PAP’s] actions have addressed issues of authority, restraint, position, privilege, oversight, and transparency to their satisfaction.”
In resignation letters shared by the party with the press, Perera and Seah, who were part of the party’s top decision-making body, apologised to their families, constituents and the party.
With Perera’s exit, WP is down to eight MPs in parliament from 10 who were elected in 2020, when the house was formed with a total of 93 lawmakers.