WP’s Leon Perera and Nicole Seah resign over affair: Watch full video of press conference
Workers’ Party MP Leon Perera and senior party leader Nicole Seah have resigned from the party over an extramarital affair, in the latest incident to rock the country’s political scene.
WP chief Pritam Singh announced this at a press conference on Wednesday.
He spoke to members of the press to address a video circulating online of Aljunied GRC MP Leon Perera and senior party member Nicole Seah touching hands.
The media conference, held at the WP headquarters in Geylang, was called after the party said on Monday that it would investigate the video which suggested “an inappropriate exchange between two senior party members”.
WP said then: “The party is currently looking into the matter and will comment when we have the facts. The party also expects all its members to fully own and account for their behaviour.”
The 15-second video appears to show Mr Perera stroking the hand of a woman who looks like Ms Seah at a restaurant over a glass of wine.
Both Mr Perera and Ms Seah are married to other people, and each has two children.
They sit on the party’s 15-member central executive committee (CEC) – its top decision-making body.
Mr Perera, 53, is the MP for Aljunied GRC’s Serangoon division, and heads the party’s media team.
Ms Seah, 36, is the WP’s Youth Wing president and was one of the party’s candidates in the team that narrowly lost to the People’s Action Party’s team led by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in East Coast GRC at the 2020 General Election.
Several sources confirmed to The Straits Times that rumours of an affair between Mr Perera and Ms Seah began swirling within party circles between late 2020 and early 2021.
Allegations about the duo frequenting hotels and behaving inappropriately with each other since mid-2020 had made their rounds among WP members, and the issue was brought up to party leaders around early 2021.
Mr Perera was mentoring Ms Seah at the time, and while it was expected that they would be spending more time with each other, sources who spoke to ST said some felt there was more happening between the pair.
Text messages seen by ST showed that those who were told about the allegations included party chairman Sylvia Lim and Sengkang GRC MP Jamus Lim.
Mr Singh and MPs Gerald Giam and Dennis Tan were also believed to have been informed about the allegations.
Party leaders, including Mr Singh, former secretary-general Low Thia Khiang and Associate Professor Lim, met at the WP headquarters on Monday to discuss the matter.
When asked on Monday night about the text messages alerting WP leaders to the affair, Mr Singh said he would address this “at one go” when he provides an update to the media “in due course”.
Another meeting was called on Tuesday night, with several members of the CEC again spotted entering the party’s headquarters from about 6.30pm. They included Mr Singh, Ms Lim and WP vice-chairman Faisal Manap.
After Tuesday’s meeting, Mr Singh said the CEC’s decision on the party’s next steps would be communicated at the media conference on Wednesday.
Mr Perera was not present at his usual Meet-the-People Session (MPS) on Monday.
Mr Perera first ran as a WP candidate for East Coast GRC at the 2015 general election, losing out to the PAP team helmed by then-Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say. He was a Non-Constituency MP from 2015 to 2020.
Before joining politics, he had been a civil servant, and later the co-founder and chief executive of a business research and consulting agency.
Ms Seah entered politics with the National Solidarity Party (NSP) in the 2011 general election, where she was the youngest female candidate. She left NSP in 2014 before volunteering with the WP’s media team after the 2015 general election.
She married in 2015, and had her second child in April 2022.