BY KEN KWEK
THE Workers’ Party (WP) last night appointed its newly elected central executive council (CEC) members to specific positions in the party leadership but with one significant departure from past practice.
The posts of first and second assistant secretaries-general were left vacant. In the previous CEC, these positions were held by Dr Poh Lee Guan and Mr James Gomez respectively.
Business lecturer Dr Poh, 45, who stood in Nee Soon East in the last General Election, is still in the CEC but no longer holds any post.
Mr Gomez, who contested as part of the WP’s Aljunied GRC team, is working in a think-tank in Sweden and did not contest the CEC elections on Sunday.
After conducting a three-hour meeting with the new CEC last night, WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang told The Straits Times that there was “no need” for assistant secretaries-general now as the new CEC was “relatively young and dynamic and need time to grow”.
He added that unlike in previous years, the WP now had another “dominant” leader to steer the party along with the secretary-general. And this was party chairman Sylvia Lim who is taking up the post of Non-Constituency MP.
Mr Low also explained why he gave the next most senior post, that of vice-chairman, to Mr Mohammed Rahizan Yaacob, explaining that the businessman had “enough political experience”.
Mr Rahizan, 49, was on the WP’s Aljunied GRC team together with Miss Lim and will likely be tasked with helping to beef up the party’s efforts at recruiting more minorities into the party.
Mr Low had previously admitted that the WP had to work harder to engage minorities if it wanted a better shot at winning a GRC.
Yesterday, he said that one of the aims of the CEC meeting was “to look at the activities and strategies to move the party forward and increase our chances of winning more seats in the next election”.
The council last night also parcelled out several key appointments to rookies from the GE. The biggest winner was IT consultant Yaw Shin Leong, 30, who led the WP team in Ang Mo Kio GRC. He was made organising secretary. Lawyer Chia Ti Lik, 32, retained his post of assistant organising secretary while Mr Eric Tan, 50, a senior bank manager, is party treasurer.
Business consultant Perry Tong is the new WP Youth Wing president, taking over from Mr Tan Wui-Hua, 39, who is working overseas.
Mr Yaw said the party’s next major activity would be a National Day outreach programme, while Mr Tong said he looked forward to inducting more potential young candidates.
“I am at the age where I feel that I can connect with both the younger and older generations,” added the 35-year-old.