TODAY: Low: SM may swing votes but …

Workers’ Party chief confident of retaining his seat

VAL CHUA
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
val@newstoday.com.sg

HE admits that the presence of the Senior Minister will help his opponent, but the incumbent MP for Hougang, Mr Low Thia Khiang, says he is neither intimidated nor distracted by what is shaping up to be a highstakes battle in the single ward.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong pledged to help PAP candidate Eric Low win the opposition ward, the Workers’ Party chief said: “Why should I worry? At the end of the day, it’s the voters who decide. Not the PAP.”

Adding that he “welcomes” the visit of the Senior Minister – which will start this Sunday during a community walkabout – he added tongue-in-cheek: “He’s not coming here to contest, right?”

Last Sunday, SM Goh was given the special assignment to help his PAP mates win back the opposition wards of Hougang and Potong Pasir.

Mr Low had held onto his ward with a 55 per cent win during the 2001 election.

Commenting on speculation that Mr Goh’s presence would force the opposition leader to guard his home turf instead of helping his colleagues elsewhere, Mr Low said: “The PAP must know by now that I am not a person who can be easily intimidated.”

But he admitted that the presence of SM Goh may swing some votes.

“Of course he will improve the chances of my opponent. There will definitely be some impact because he’s the Senior Minister.”

But he added: “I know I’ve done my best and I’ve not disappointed my supporters.”

In fact, he said the harder the PAP works at wooing voters, the more residents gain.

“Where can you find free breakfast? Where do you find abalone porridge? It’s the special privilege of opposition wards,” said Mr Low, referring to the giveaways by Potong Pasir’s PAP candidate Sitoh Yih Pin.

He said his opponent, Mr Eric Low, had done his job.

“I will not say he has done a good job. But he has done his part, and in so doing, residents in Hougang benefited. We have also free medical treatment here, we have a lot of free things here, which is against the PAP principle, but we have it here, so why not?”

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