The Democratic Progressive Party of Singapore celebrates its 40th year this year (2013) as a registered and active political party in Singapore. The history of the party dates back to 16 March 1973, when it was first set up and named the United Front. It contested in both the 1976 and 1980 General Elections before being renamed the Singapore United Front on 5 March 1982, and contested again in the 1984 General Elections under this name. In the 1988 General Elections, members of the party contested under the Workers’ Party banner. In 1990, a team together with Mr Seow Khee Leng officially renamed the party as the Democratic Progressive Party, and subsequently contested in three more General Elections, in 1997 and 2001 as DPP, and in 2006 under the banner of Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA). The party did not contest in the 2011 General Elections.
For 20 years from 1992 to 2012, the party has been kept going by a small team led by Mr Seow Khee Leng, who has contested in four General Elections ever since the very first General Election in 1976 that the party took part in. In end- 2012, Mr Seow invited a group who contested in Bishan-Toa Payoh in 2011 under the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) banner, to joinand take over the leadership of the party. Mr Seow and his DPP leaders officially appointed the small group’s leader Mr Benjamin Pwee as the party’s Acting Secretary-General in January 2013. Pwee was confirmed as the party’s Secretary-General on 31 March 2013.
Over the past 40-year history since 1973, members of the party have contested in seven (7) General Elections, winning between 31% to 45% of the votes in 5 out of the 7 General Elections, more than half of the number of elections it contested in since 1973.
1976 Seow Khee Leng United Front Mountbattan 34.10%
1980 Seow Khee Leng United Front Geylang Serai 28.01%
1984 Seow Khee Leng Singapore United Front Kg Chai Chee 42.84%
1984 Md Monsor Rahman Singapore United Front Geylang Serai 34.43%
1988 Seow Khee Leng Part of WP team Bedok GRC 45.08%
1997 Tan Soo Phuan DPP Chua Chu Kang 12.5%
1997 Tan Lead Shake DPP Kg Glam 12.5%
2001 Tan Lead Shake DPP Ayer Rajah 12.5%
2006 Tan Lead Shake Part of SDA Tampines GRC 31.49%
(note: Tan Lead Shake was subsequently expelled from the DPP)
The DPP, under the new leadership of Chairman Mohd Hamim bin Aliyas and Secretary-General Benjamin Pwee, has worked hard over the whole of the past year to re-build the party’s credibility, and bring credible professionals into party leadership. Its new Central Executive Committee that took over leadership in March this year consists of the following:
• Chairman Mohamad Hamim Aliyas Businessman
• Secretary-General Benjamin Pwee Mgt Consultant
• Asst Secretary-General Wilfred Leung UX Principle Designer
• Organising Secretary Ting Tze Jiang Travel Executive
• General Treasurer Winston Lim Architect
• Assistant Treasurer Juliana Juwahir Architect
• Executive Member Fatima Akhtar Architect
Since January this year, the DPP has been doing regular monthly walkabouts in Bishan-Toa Payoh, Potong Pasir and Tanjung Pagar constituencies, and has issued several policy statements and commentaries on national issues. It intends to increase the frequency of its walkabouts in order to get to know the local residents better, and also reach out in friendly collaboration with other alternative political parties in Singapore for a coordinated united alternative front to the People’s Action Party (PAP). It hopes to carve and define a credible political middle-ground, and gear up to contest in the next General Election with more new candidates and in collaboration with other friendly alternative parties.