Straits Times: Young members dominate new WP leadership

BY KEN KWEK

THE Workers’ Party (WP) yesterday ushered in a new generation of leaders, replacing half of its central executive council (CEC) with fresh members mostly below the age of 40.

Of the seven new members elected, only senior bank manager Eric Tan, 50, is born before independence.

The remaining six are consultant Perry Tong, 34; sales coordinator Abdul Salim Harun, 24; businesswoman Glenda Han, 30; IT consultant Yaw Shin Leong, 30; account manager Brandon Siow, 31 and Miss Ng Swee Bee, 26, a cost coordinator in a private school.

Miss Ng, WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang’s election agent, is the only new council member who did not contest in the May general election.

The new faces’ inclusion means that nine out of 15 members in the new CEC are below the age of 40.

Mr Yaw said he was “honoured” that the party had shown such “faith and confidence” in its younger members.

The CEC election, attended by more than 60 cadre members, was a closed-door event held at the WP’s Syed Alwi Road headquarters yesterday afternoon.

After the meeting, Mr Low told the press that he was “very pleased” that a younger leadership had been elected, as it ensured rejuvenation within the 49-year-old party.

“The process of renewal is on track,” said the Hougang MP, adding with a laugh: “I’m one of the oldest now!”

WP chairman Sylvia Lim was similarly upbeat about the result.

“We are looking forward to the next phase of the Workers’ Party, and also to be better representatives of the electorate, particularly the younger generation,” she said.

While celebrating a new team of more youthful leaders, both Mr Low and Ms Lim were quick to pay tribute to the older council members who had made way for their younger colleagues.

The seven former council members who stepped down include ex-party chairman Tan Bin Seng, 54; Mr Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman, 66; Mr James Gomez, 41 and Mr Tan Wui-Hua, 39.

Both Mr Tan and Mr Gomez stepped down due to work commitments in the Middle East and Sweden respectively.

Said Mr Abdul Rahim, who had been the party’s vice-chairman since 1994: “It’s time the younger members fly the party’s flag.”

The new council members will be given specific appointments in a meeting today.

Mr Low and Ms Lim will remain as the WP’s secretary-general and chairman respectively.

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