Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Progressive Party (Singapore)

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Chinese name  进步党
Founder  Tan Chye Cheng
President  John Laycock(1947-1956)
Chairperson  Nazir Ahmad Mallal(1947-1956)
Secretary-General  Tan Chye Cheng(1947-1956)
Founded  25 August 1947 (1947-08-25)

The Singapore Progressive Party (abbrev: PP; simplified Chinese: 进步党; traditional Chinese: 進步黨; pinyin: Jìnbù Dǎng; Wade–Giles: Chin4 pu4 tang3; Malay: Parti Progresif), or just, the Progressive Party is a now defunct political party that was formed on 25 August, 1947. It won the Legislative Assembly general elections in 1948 by winning half of the contested seats in the Legislative Assembly, 3 out of 6. At that time, the self-government power of the Legislative Assembly was still rather limited.



The party was founded by three lawyers, namely Tan Chye Cheng, John Laycock and Nazir Ahmad Mallal. All three were educated at the University of London and were three of the six first ever elected legislative councillors in Singapore. The party was Singapore's first political party.

Party ideology

The Progressive Party was heavily backed by and made up of English-speaking upper class professionals. Its campaign ideology was to advocate progressive and gradual reforms, rather than sudden, quick, radical ones, which fell in line with British policy at the time, to slowly let Singapore gain full self-government. This approach was criticised vehemently by David Saul Marshall, leader of the Labour Front who instead wanted rapid reform. The locals (especially the Chinese), and the communists also blasted the Progressive Party, claiming that they were Hanjian (a Mandarin term for Chinese 'traitors')

Legislative Council

In the Legislative Council, the PP worked closely with the British Government. The PP fought for equal treatment with both local and European civil servants, but this did not please the Chinese-educated locals, who were very unhappy with the PP's Pro-British stance.


Unknown to many people, the PP was credited for drafting a law for the setting up of a Central Provident Fund, and it was approved by the British government in 1954, this CPF scheme provides financial security for workers in their retirement or for workers who were unable to work, this scheme came into effect in 1955, when David Marshall took office, and even after so many years, the CPF scheme despite having a few revisions and changes, remains in Singapore.


With the introduction of the Rendel Constitution, more power was given to the locals, more legislative council seats up for grabs and more locals could vote. The PP were not able to appeal to the electorate, as it had pro-colonial conservative policies. The electorate, mostly working-class Chinese, supported the more radical Labour Front and the PAP. Nevertheless, the PP contested in 22 legislative councillor seats.

The PP failed to win the successive elections in the 1955 general elections, winning only 4 out of the 22 they contested, with none of their leaders in any seats. They merged with the Democratic Party to form the Liberal Socialist Party.


Progressive Party (Singapore) Wikipedia

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