The National Solidarity Party (NSP, simplified Chinese: 国民团结党; traditional Chinese: 國民團結黨) is a political party in Singapore. The party was formed in 1987, and joined the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) political grouping in 2001, before withdrawing from the alliance in 2007. To date, no member of the party has won an election to claim a constituency seat in Parliament, although only one member, the party’s then Secretary-General, Steve Chia, was elected as a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) from 2001 to 2006.
History and political development
The NSP was founded by a group of middle-class businessmen and women on 6 March 1987; NSP made their political debut in the 1988 general election, and has contested in every elections since. NSP also had contested in the 1992 by-election for the constituency of then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, Marine Parade GRC.
As member of Singapore Democratic Alliance
Ahead of the 2001 general election, the NSP became a founding member of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), along with the Singapore Justice Party (SJP), the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) and the Singapore Malay National Organization (PKMS). The Chairman of the alliance was the SPP leader and then-Member of Parliament (MP) for Potong Pasir, Chiam See Tong (who was the SDA’s only candidate-elect until 2011).
On the polling day, the party’s then-secretary General Steve Chia, who contested the Chua Chu Kang Single Member Constituency but defeated with a vote share of 34.6%, was the highest percentage secured by a losing opposition candidate at the election, and Chia assumed his Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) post, becoming the first non-Workers’Party) (WP) NCMP to do so.
However, despite Chia losing his election but increased his margin to 39.63% on the 2006 general election, he lost his position as a NCMP and did not return to Parliament (the highest percentage among losing candidates was for the WP team of Aljunied GRC at 43.9%; party’s chairman Sylvia Lim succeeded Chia for the NCMP role).
Party rebuild, 2011 elections
In 2007, the NSP decided to withdraw from the SDA with a view to “explore new possibilities through wider latitude to manoeuvre, re-engineer, and rebuild the NSP”. Sebastian Teo also took over the leadership of the party from Steve Chia. The party acquired a new collective colour of orange for their activity jersey as a sign of vitality, rebirth and unity. The party’s newsletter underwent a transformation and adopted the new name North Star.
In the 2011 election, the party fielded the most candidates of all Opposition parties for the election, with 24 candidates contesting in four Group Representation Constituencies (Chua Chu Kang GRC, Jurong GRC, Marine Parade GRC and Tampines GRC), and four Single Member Constituencies (Mountbatten SMC, Pioneer SMC, Radin Mas SMC and Whampoa SMC; the latter was currently defunct). This election saw a boost in electoral support for the NSP, notably receiving endorsement from the newly-formed Reform Party along their supporters. The party was led by then Secretary-General Goh Meng Seng (a former WP candidate, and currently the leader for People’s Power Party), and saw introductions to prominent candidates, which include Nicole Seah, Hazel Poa, Tony Tan Lay Thiam and Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss.
However, the party was unfortunately hamstrung by a lack of a strong party brand. Despite fielding notable candidates such as former MP Cheo Chai Chen and entrepreneur Hazel Poa, the undefinable branding took a huge toll on the party, as the party was defeated in all eight of the contested constituencies; Goh resigned from his post shortly after the election.
General Election 2015
The party expressed intention to contest five constituencies (MacPherson, Marine Parade, Pioneer, Sembawang and Tampines), but the party shortly dropped out on MacPherson and Marine Parade, citing the possibility of multi-cornered contests that were likely to dilute the votes from the incumbent opposition WP and reducing the chance for a more diverse Parliament.
The party later changed their mind a few days later, and announced their intention to contest MacPherson SMC citing closeness with the constituency as they had contested there in the prior election. A few party members, such as acting secretary-general Hazel Poa and a CEC member Fazli Talip, resigned from NSP, citing that the decision was controversial and had strongly opposed it. The party initially fielded Steve Chia as the candidate, but Chia later withdrew on 23 August due to the online abuse that received from him, and the party eventually chose Cheo Chai Chen as a candidate. Prior to the election, few members had earlier resigned, which members include Nicole Seah and Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss, who later joined WP and SPP, respectively.
During the campaigning period, Cheo drew public outcry on an interview citing MacPherson’s incumbent Tin Pei Ling’s status as a new mother was “her weakness” and saying that she might spend more time focusing on her child than on her constituents, and later claimed it as a joke.
The party failed to win any of the constituencies, and Cheo had his S$14,500 electoral deposit forfeited as a consequence of garnering less than 12.5% of the valid votes cast for MacPherson (215 or 0.82%).
Earlier, Lim Tean was appointed as acting-secretary general following Poa’s resignation, but resigned from his post and left NSP on May 2017, and formed his new party, People’s Voice Party, in October 2018.
Objectives and policies
In late-2007, the NSP formulated a set of political objectives and mission statements:
Political Ideology: The National Solidarity Party (NSP) is a centrist party. We believe in fair competition, low unemployment and wealth redistribution.
Mission Statements: NSP exists to uphold democracy, and to provide constructive ideas to benefit the Society. The Party positively promotes the establishment of a multi-party political system. It envisions to be a credible and caring political party. NSP is the only few conservative political parties in Singapore.
The Right to Dignity
Respect for Diversity
Service to Society
The party is led by its Central Executive Committee and adherence to its Party Constitution. The Party went through several leadership changes and renewal in its constant effort to assemble the best team possible. Its past Secretary-General includes: Steve Chia, Goh Meng Seng, Hazel Poa, Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss and Lim Tean. Spencer Ng is currently the Secretary-General of National Solidarity Party. Unlike other Political Parties, the President in NSP is the one leading the Party while the Secretary-General is second in the hierarchy.