Hazel Poa Koon Koon the new NSP secretary general | Will Nicole Seah be the next President of NSP?

Congratulations to Ms Hazel Poa Koon Koon for being the new secretary general of the National Solidarity Party, replacing Mr Goh Meng Seng. She must have been very busy that she has not updated her blog (hazelpoa.blogspot.com) yet. Heh.

I'm quite relief that it's not Nicole Seah who becomes the secretary general. I mean it's getting too predictable if NSP is overly pushing forward this amazing young politician into the limelight.

Unless of course she's aiming a higher post in the party to replace Mr Sebastian Teo...

THE National Solidarity Party (NSP) has elected a new slate of leaders to bring the party forward after the May 7 general election.

At a congress meeting on Sunday, former government scholarship holder Hazel Poa was voted in as the NSP's new secretary-general - the first woman to be made secretary-general of a political party here in decades.

She takes over from Mr Goh Meng Seng, who said on Sunday morning that he is stepping down from his position and the party's central executive council to take a two-year sabbatical from politics.

Ms Poa, 41, called her new role a 'heavy responsibility' but pledged to put in her best effort to help the party grow.

Business consultant Sebastian Teo, 63, was elected president for a fourth consecutive term. The congress also voted in 13 other members to sit on the NSP's central executive council, which makes collective decisions for the party, for the next two years.

Mr Teo said the council contained "a very good mix" of older and younger party members. One of them is 24-year-old Nicole Seah, who won support for her eloquence during the polls and helped her team score 43.4 per cent of the votes in Marine Parade GRC against the People's Action Party team. Said Ms Seah: "We have a very great responsibility, not just to rebuilding the party but also to forward the cause of the opposition in Singapore."

From Straits Times, "NSP elects new leaders".

Opposition figure Hazel Poa has been elected as the new secretary-general of the National Solidarity Party (NSP) after the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the party met on Sunday.

Mr Sebastian Teo retains his position as party president.

Meanwhile, Mr Tony Tan, Mrs Jeannette Chong Aruldoss and Ms Nicole Seah were elected as council members.

Ms Poa's appointment came after Mr Goh Meng Seng stepped down as NSP's secretary-general.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Goh said on his blog he would taking a sabbatical for at least two years.

Mr Goh, who will remain a congress member, also said he will try to help presidential hopeful Mr Tan Kin Lian in his campaign over the next couple of months.

He added he had an exciting one year and four months leading the NSP for the recent general election.

He described the NSP's result as its "best" since its inception even though it did not meet his expectation of winning seats in Parliament.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Hazel Poa is NSP chief".

Former civil servant Hazel Poa yesterday became the first woman to lead a political party here, as she took over from Mr Goh Meng Seng as National Solidarity Party's (NSP) secretary-general.

Ms Poa was part of the NSP team which lost in the Chua Chu Kang GRC at last month's General Election (GE). The team garnered 38.8 per cent of the votes.

NSP's latest central executive council lineup features three other women - Ms Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, Ms Nicole Seah and Ms Noraini Yunus, who stood as candidates in the recent GE. Mr Sebastian Teo remains party president.

Ms Poa, 41, told Today that she hoped NSP's new leadership slate would enable the party to shed its "male-dominated, Chinese towkay party" image.

When Today pointed out to her the significance of her appointment, Ms Poa said: "I have never felt gender to be a problem but I do hope that it can serve to encourage more women to step up."

Said political watcher Eugene Tan, a law lecturer at Singapore Management University: "Taken together with the higher number of women candidates in the last election, and Singapore having its first woman Opposition parliamentarian, Ms Poa's rise is a qualitative and not just quantitative symbol that women are not only getting more involved with politics but also can be in a position to make decisions."

Apart from building the party's branding, Ms Poa said the NSP will work at communicating more clearly its "political position" and stand on certain policy issues.

She also plans to have more collaboration and engagement with other Opposition political parties and set up grassroots organisations in areas the NSP is targeting in the next GE.

Ms Poa noted that the party will also go on an "aggressive" recruitment drive as it found that it had spread itself too thin during the recent GE. "For the next GE, we should be more focussed and more concentrated. Of course, that depends on how many members and candidates we are able to attract over the next five years," she said.

Mr Goh, who became NSP secretary-general last February, said he is taking a "political sabbatical" of at least two years. Meanwhile, he plans to help in former NTUC Income CEO Tan Kin Lian's presidential bid.

Mr Goh added that he may look into working with international non-governmental institutions or setting up a think tank, as well as look for business opportunities to provide financial support for the family of his late brother, David, who died in the early days of the elections campaign.

He said whether he stands for the next election will depend on the situation then, although he remains an NSP congress member for the time being.

From Today, "She's the first woman political party chief".

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