Weekend TODAY: Not a one-man team

GE2006

Low says WP seeing renewal and campaign was good

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


WEE TECK HIAN
Mr Low Thia Khiang leading the Worker’s Party members saying the Singapore Pledge at the end of the rally.

FOR so long, Workers’ Party (WP) has been associated with a lone voice in Parliament – that of party chief Low Thia Khiang.

Yesterday, the veteran politician said that his party was on the cusp of a renewal, with more capable candidates ready to take over the baton.

“I’m 50 this year, I’ve gone through a long journey in politics. How many more years do I have to contest?” he told a large crowd at the Serangoon Stadium on Friday.

Admitting his own shortcomings, Mr Low, who is Chinese-educated, said: “I don’t mind telling you this, I got F9 in English for my O and A levels.”

But his Aljunied team, which is helmed by law lecturer Sylvia Lim, is a “mature and strong” team, filled with passionate and public-spirited candidates who are at the peak of their careers, he said.

“I strongly believe that if you vote this Aljunied team into Parliament, they will perform better than me,” he said.

He again warned that no party – no matter how strong – was infallible and that what Singapore needs is an effective Opposition to counter the Government.

“The only way to make the Government account to you is through the elections. What the PAP is most afraid of is your vote,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the Aljunied WP team did its last walkabout at Kovan market to garner support. The team, led by Mr Low, walked around the estate to shake hands and chat with residents, holding a press conference outside a fast-food chain. It was reflective of the no-fuss approach of WP, which is gunning for three GRCs and four Single-Member Constituencies, its largest candidacy since 1988.

Unfortunately, the party still has to deal with the James Gomez incident, which has nearly dominated the hustings this time around. Although the saga may be re-opened after the election, Mr Low’s stand on the issue remains unchanged.

“I never avoided the issue. We have already apologised for the stress caused to the elections department. Do they have anything new to show? Any more convincing evidence?” he asked.

Through the campaign, WP also fired back with some shots on its own – urging the PAP to clarify the criteria for means testing for C-class hospital wards.

WP also brought up the use of lift upgrading to entice voters, which it termed as “pork-barrel politics”.

Describing the overall impact of WP’s campaign as “very good”, Mr Low is dismissive of the effects of the Gomez incident and the $100 million upgrading carrot that the PAP has offered to Hougang voters.

“I don’t think there is an impact. I believe that Singaporeans are intelligent enough and sophisticated enough to be able to judge themselves,” he said on Friday.

Indeed, with the frenzied campaigning period over, Mr Low just wants voters to remember his party’s slogan: “You have a Choice.”

“If there is no support for WP in these elections, it could derail our renewal process and we may not be able to provide you with such a strong choice at the next elections,” said the veteran politician on Friday night.

“Before you go to the polling stand, reflect on what kind of Singapore you want. Workers’ Party is pro-Singapore and we work for the interest of Singapore, above the interests of the party,” he said. – ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY LIN YANQIN

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