James Gomez among those making way for fresh blood
THE FUTURE: New CEC members (from top to bottom) Yaw Shin Leong, Glenda Han and Perry Tong.
NEW blood has been infused into the Workers’ Party (WP), with seven new faces – most of them in their 30s – elected into its Central Executive Committee (CEC).
Stepping down are seven of the old guard, the highest profile among them being James Gomez – who was embroiled in controversy over his non-submission of a minority candidate certificate application form during the recent General Election.
Coming into the CEC are East Coast GRC candidates Perry Tong, 35, Eric Tan, 51 and Brandon Siow, 31; Ang Mo Kio GRC team leader Yaw Shin Leong, 30 and his teammates Glenda Han, 30 and Abdul Salim, 24. The seventh new face is Ng Swee Bee, 26, who was the election agent for WP secretary general Low Thia Khiang in the Hougang constituency.
Speaking to reporters after a three-hour closed-door meeting at the party’s headquarters in Syed Alwi Road, WP chairman Sylvia Lim said she was encouraged by the fact that members were supportive of a renewal within the party leadership.
“All of us are looking forward to the next phase of the Workers’ Party, and to also be a better representative of the electorate at the next election,” said Ms Lim, 41.
Both Ms Lim, who is the new Non-Constituency MP, and Hougang MP Mr Low, 49, retained their respective posts in the CEC through a direct election.
The 13 remaining CEC members will also be office-bearers, though the exact posts that they will occupy will only be decided later tonight.
Ms Lim said that second assistant secretary-general Mr Gomez, currently working in Sweden as a policy analyst with think-tank International IDEA, was consulted before yesterday’s election.
Treasurer Tan Wui-Hua, 39, is also working overseas in the Middle East and was not considered for reelection.
The other five leaders making way are first vice-chairman Tan Bin Seng, 54, organising secretary Ng Ah Chwee, 56, deputy treasurer Goh Seng Soon, 56, second vice-chairman Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman, 66, and council member Melvin Tan, 31.
Ms Lim said that the party’s main target was to win more seats in the next GE.
“We had wanted to do so this year. But I think the Singapore electorate has given us hope for the next election, so we intend to work hard towards that goal,” she said.
The WP said more than 100 new members had signed up over the past few months. Some of them could be groomed as future candidates, said Mr Low.
The CEC could expand in the coming months too, he added, as the constitution allows it to co-opt up to six more members.
Newly-elected Mr Yaw said he felt “honoured” by the move. He told TODAY: “By the next election, a good proportion of voters will be from the post-65 generation. We can speak the same language as them and be in a good position to handle their concerns.”