[UPDATED on Friday, 29 August at 2pm: Added comments from Nicole Seah]
Opposition politician Nicole Seah has resigned from the National Solidarity Party, both she and its secretary-general Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss have confirmed.
In an email response to queries from Yahoo Singapore on the matter, Seah said leaving the party was “an extremely difficult and painful decision to make”, stating that there was nothing that happened to trigger her departure.
She said that since starting in politics as a fresh graduate, she wanted to make a difference by bringing more political awareness and interest to young people.
“It’s reached a point where I feel that my job is done (for now) and I have to move on and grow in other areas, before I can continue to give back to the communities I choose to place myself in,” she wrote.
The 28-year-old said she is not completely leaving politics, but “will just need to find a more suitable platform to contribute and give back”.
“I wish NSP all the best, and continue to hold its leadership and members in high regard,” she wrote. “We continue to remain friends.”
Speaking to Yahoo Singapore over the phone on Friday, Chong-Aruldoss said Seah tendered her resignation on Monday, 25 August. The party is sorry to see her go but respects her decision to leave, she added.
“We thank her for all the contributions she has made during her time with us, and we are very appreciative of all her efforts… but we respect her decision, which I’m sure she has considered and not made lightly,” she said.
Chong-Aruldoss acknowledged that Seah had become “quieter than before” in terms of her involvement with party activities and correspondence in the months since she moved to Bangkok to work.
“We wanted to give her some space to get her own things organised and haven’t been running after her to tell her to do things,” she said.
She also stressed that no incident, altercation or animosity had taken place between Seah and the party’s leaders.
“She’s been with us for quite a few years, and I do have fond memories… it’s sad that I have to see anyone go, but that’s her decision and we respect it. I take comfort that she took some time to think about it,” she added.
Seah moved to Thailand in March to work at IPG Mediabrands’s Bangkok office and has been based there ever since.
She has been a key figure representing the NSP in Singapore’s political scene since Singapore’s watershed general election in 2011. A new face on the scene, she grew to prominence with her strong speeches and grassroots work, and also became very popular online.
Her last-held position in the party was second assistant secretary-general. She previously was a member of the Reform Party, which she subsequently left alongside other current NSP members like Hazel Poa and Tony Tan in 2011.