WP sacks Poh over by-election incident
SINGAPORE - The Workers' Party (WP) has sacked Dr Poh Lee Guan over his unilateral decision to put himself forward as the party's "unofficial spare candidate" in the Hougang by-elections held in May.
Dr Poh, 51, had obtained from the Elections Department the political donations certificate - one of the documents required to stand for elections - on the quiet although the WP had nominated only Mr Png Eng Huat as its candidate. The party leadership only learnt of this on the eve of Nomination Day, after the Elections Department issued a statement on the individuals who had obtained the political donations certificate.
On Nomination Day, Dr Poh did not show up at the Nomination Centre to submit his papers but was spotted at nearby blocks in WP colours.
It has emerged that Workers' Party Chairman Sylvia Lim had written to Dr Poh only 11 days after Mr Png won the Hougang seat on May 26 to ask him to explain his actions to the party's executive council.
He appeared before the executive council last Tuesday and, two days later, was notified through a letter signed by party chief Low Thia Khiang of his expulsion.
The letter, which TODAY has seen, said that "after due consideration, the council (did) not find (his) explanation acceptable". Dr Poh's explanation to the party leadership was not stated in the letter but he told reporters previously that he did so with the WP's interests at heart - to make sure the party has a candidate to retain Hougang. Attempts to reach Dr Poh on his mobile phone yesterday were unsuccessful.
Close to midnight yesterday, the WP posted a statement on its Facebook page: "In response to media queries, we can confirm that Dr Poh Lee Guan was expelled from the Workers' Party on July 10. The expulsion was carried out on the grounds set out under Article 22 of the WP Constitution."
Dr Poh, formerly the WP's First Assistant Secretary-General, is a veteran of three general elections.
His sacking is the latest in a string of departures from the WP, including the expulsion of former Hougang MP Yaw Shin Leong, as well as resignations of three other members who stood in last year's elections.
By Teo Xuanwei
19 July 2012