TODAY: Workers’ Party eyeing East Coast?

Walkabouts in Bedok North, but party chief says election focus areas still undecided

CHRISTIE LOH
christie@newstoday.com.sg

ELECTION fever is hotting up as much ado has been made recently about where the Workers’ Party (WP) – one of Singapore’s biggest and oldest political affiliations – has cast its eye.

The Group Representation Constituency (GRC) of East Coast is among the names bandied about as the WP has been sighted there three times this year selling their newspaper, The Hammer.

But WP’s secretary-general Low Thia Khiang, 49, is not letting up even after a “warm” response from residents of the Bedok ward yesterday morning.

Speaking to TODAY on the sidelines of a walkabout in Bedok North, he said that the WP has not firmed up its target constituencies despite last week’s meeting with other opposition parties.

“The meeting was to seek mutual understanding on where each party will perhaps contest. So, if there are areas where two or three parties are interested, then we will talk it out because it is not productive (to contest the same areas),” said Mr Low, who met with his peers from the Singapore People’s Party, the National Solidarity Party and the Singapore Democratic Party recently.

Currently, Mr Low is focused on getting people acquainted with the WP through the party’s newspaper. As he combed Bedok North’s markets and food centres for buyers, many, such as graphic designer Cheong Pui Pui, 30, readily held out a dollar.

A male Chinese fruit-seller even remarked: “Mr Low is famous and eloquent,” as the MP for Hougang walked by.

But not everyone was persuaded to buy a copy.

“The topics that The Hammer addresses affect the economy at large – such as the casinos – but that’s not the heartlander’s voice,” said Mr Goh, 31, a human resource executive.

Such sentiments, however, do not get Mr Low down.

“I ask if you would like to buy a copy, but you have a choice whether or not to buy. You’ve got to be able to stand rejection as a politician. If you want to serve the people, you’ve got to be able to respect the choice of the people,” he said.

If the WP does gun for the East Coast GRC, it will be up against the People’s Action Party’s six-man team led by Deputy Prime Minister Professor S Jayakumar, Second Minister for Finance and Foreign Affairs Raymond Lim and Speaker of Parliament Abdullah Tarmugi.

Over in Sembawang GRC helmed by former Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan, the WP made door-to-door visits in the Marsiling area yesterday afternoon. That was on top of the party’s five outreach sessions listed on its website.

Similarly, Aljunied has been flagged as a WP target.

But until the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee releases its report, the exact battle lines are unclear.

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