Straits Times: Hougang rivals rope in women colleagues

ELECTION 06

Minister Lim Hwee Hwa and Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim show up at temple event

BY KEN KWEK


ALL SMILES: Mr Low Thia Khiang (left) with Mr Eric Low at the temple event. In the background is Mrs Lim Hwee Hua. Miss Sylvia Lim, who was also present, is hidden from the camera.

HOUGANG MP Low Thia Khiang and his People’s Action Party (PAP) rival Eric Low both attended an annual Buddhist celebration in Hougang last night, as they have done in the past few years. But there was one difference: both men showed up with women colleagues from their respective political parties.

At 8.30pm, Mr Low Thia Khiang arrived with Workers’ Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim and other party colleagues. Ten minutes later, Mr Eric Low turned up with an unexpected guest, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, his PAP colleague and MP from Marine Parade GRC.

Mrs Lim, who is Minister of State for Finance and Transport, has been active in neighbouring Aljunied GRC since last month when the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee moved her ward of Serangoon from Marine Parade GRC to become part of Aljunied. Her presence at the temple event last night lent credence to talk that the PAP intends to harness the combined resources of Hougang and Aljunied GRC to boost Mr Eric Low’s chances in the single-seat ward.

When the PAP politicians arrived in the tentage near the Hougang Community Club, the WP members were visibly surprised at Mrs Lim’s appearance. Mr Low Thia Khiang rose from his seat and, to applause from the more than 1,000 guests, greeted Mrs Lim. He then introduced her to his party colleagues, including Mr Yaw Shin Leong and Ms Ng Swee Bee, and even ribbed Mr Eric Low for showing up late.

Mr Low Thia Khiang, the Workers’ Party’s secretary-general, said with a laugh: “I did not expect Hwee Hua to be here tonight!” Miss Sylvia Lim guessed that the minister was probably there to lend support to Mr Eric Low’s election bid. Mrs Lim herself confirmed this later, saying she was there to show “moral support” for Mr Eric Low.

Tomorrow, Mr Low will get reinforcements, as Aljunied GRC MPs Ong Seh Hong and Yeo Guat Kwang are due to tour the ward with him. Mr Low told The Straits Times: “I thought it was a good opportunity to introduce Mrs Lim to residents here.”

Mr Eric Low went against Mr Low Thia Khiang in the last election and lost. When the boundary changes were announced earlier this year, the PAP MP in Yio Chu Kang Seng Han Thong announced that he would receive help during the election from his neighbouring Ang Mo Kio GRC colleagues. The same strategy now appears to be taking shape in Hougang and Aljunied GRC as well.

kenkwek@sph.com.sg

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