Ex-Candidate & Key Figure in PSP Reportedly Stepping Down & ‘Negotiating an Exit’


The Progress Singapore Party (PSP), founded in 2019 by former MP Tan Cheng Bock, has seen its fair share of members leaving despite being a recently established party.

Yet again, another member is set to step down. This time a key figure in the top decision-making body of the opposition bloc.

Stepping Down & Negotiating an Exit

Mr Kumaran Pillai, 51, told The Straits Times (ST) yesterday that he informed party chief Francis Yuen on Monday of his decision to step down as communications chief and party spokesman.

Mr Pillai, who ran as a candidate for the Kebun Baru single seat at the 2020 General Election, said he is also “negotiating an exit” from the central executive committee (CEC) he was co-opted into early last year, and asking for a “leave of absence” from the party for an unspecified period of time.

He said he was not leaving politics and that he hoped to remain involved with the PSP in an advisory role.

Focus on Business and Health

So why is he stepping down?

Mr Pillai said his decision had to do with business-related “greener pastures” and new projects that he is taking on.

He also stressed that he had “no quarrel” with the party.

Mr Pillai runs a consultancy developing and managing start-ups and is also the publisher of socio-political website The Independent News.

Additionally, he attributed his departure to “some health concerns” stemming from a frozen shoulder sustained during the 2020 hustings.

When contacted, Mr Yuen told ST that these health issues were the primary reason for Mr Pillai taking a leave of absence.

“Nothing of serious concern, but requires him to take things easy,” said the party secretary-general.

Mr Yuen added, however, that Mr Pillai would remain in the CEC and assist the new communications head.

A draft internal message to be sent to PSP members on Wednesday night identified Mr Jonathan Tee, who previously led communications operations during the early days of the party, as Mr Pillai’s replacement.

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PSP History

For those not well-acquainted with the PSP, they are an opposition party and one of the three political parties represented in parliament.

Mr Pillai, contested for the Kebun Baru single seat in the 2020 General Election but ultimately lost to People’s Action Party opponent Henry Kwek who won 62.97 per cent of the votes in comparison to his 37.03 per cent.


Despite the loss, the party garnered 48 per cent of the votes in West Coast GRC, allowing them to claim two Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) seats in the 14th Parliament of Singapore.

Problems Arose Within Party

However, it has not been all sunshine and roses for PSP which has since weathered a spate of controversies, infighting rumours and high-ranking departures.

In November last year, it was revealed that the party was being sued by former member and election candidate Kala Manickam, who wants it to declare that the termination of her membership in December 2020 was wrongful and invalid.

Last October, treasurer Kayla Low stepped down, citing new job requirements of long business trips; in August, another former election candidate, Mr Brad Bowyer, resigned in the wake of the backlash to his vaccine views. He had also feuded publicly with Ms Kala over pandemic measures.

In April, youth wing head Terence Soon quit to take up employment opportunities overseas.


Reports of internal strife also surfaced in July last year, with some PSP members perceiving a nativist and racist slant to the party’s position on Singapore’s free trade agreement with India.

With the next General Election in two years’ time, we will have to wait and see whether the PSP is set to be a strong contender still.

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Featured Image: Progress Singapore Party