July 19, 2023
SINGAPORE – Rumours of an affair between Aljunied GRC MP Leon Perera and senior Workers’ Party (WP) member Nicole Seah began swirling within party circles between late 2020 and early 2021, The Straits Times has learnt.
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 WP chairman Sylvia Lim and Sengkang GRC MP Jamus Lim.
Party chief Pritam Singh and MPs Gerald Giam and Dennis Tan were also believed to have been informed about the allegations.
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”.
On Tuesday, WP’s media team said it will hold a media conference on Wednesday to address the video.
Mr Singh and other party leaders had met at the WP headquarters in Geylang on Monday to discuss the matter involving Mr Perera and Ms Seah.
Mr Singh, who is the Leader of the Opposition, told ST that deliberations by the WP’s central executive committee (CEC) were ongoing.
WP CEC members present at the meeting included Ms Lim, former party chief Low Thia Khiang, Mr Giam, Mr Faisal Manap, Mr Dennis Tan, Associate Professor Lim, Mr Louis Chua and Ms He Ting Ru, among others.
Mr Perera and Ms Seah – who are both married and sit on the WP’s 15-member CEC – were not present.
The WP had said on Monday that it was looking into a clip circulating online that “suggests an inappropriate exchange between two senior party members”.
A 15-second video clip shared on social media on Monday appeared to show Mr Perera sharing an intimate moment with Ms Seah at an eatery. The man in the video is seen stroking the woman’s hand.
The video contained no audio, and it is not known when or where it was taken.
In its statement on Monday, the WP said: “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.”
Mr Perera, 53, is the MP for Aljunied GRC’s Serangoon division, and heads the party’s media team. He is married with two children.
Ms Seah, 36, is president of the WP’s Youth Wing. She is also married with two children.
ST has sent queries to Mr Perera and Ms Seah.