Straits Times: Workers’ Party out in strength to woo tomorrow’s voters

Party chief leads 50 members on Bedok walkabouts; more such visits very week

BY KEN KWEK


PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
ACTIVE: Mr Low (centre) leads a team, including WP assistant secretary-general Chia Ti Lik (left), selling the party newsletter in Bedok.

THE Workers’ Party (WP), with an eye on the 2011 General Election, has taken the initial steps to win over voters, especially the young.

Yesterday, about 50 of its members, led by party chief Low Thia Khiang, went on a three-hour walkabout in Bedok.

The constituency visit is the second in as many Sundays, and was dominated by young members who had joined the party after this year’s general election.

There were about 30 newcomers in the group, all clad in the party’s trademark sky-blue shirts.

Such constituency visits would continue “every week for the foreseeable future”, said Mr Low, who is WP’s secretary-general. “This is part of the work that needs to be done to win more seats in the next election,” he said.

Likely to be held in 2011, the election will see Singapore’s post-65 generation, those born after 1965, making up more than half of the electorate.

The walkabouts are also to counter what Mr Low had said was the perception that opposition parties appear in public only during – not in between – elections.

Yesterday’s event began around 8.45am, at the market and food centre at Block 58, Bedok South Avenue 3.

Moving in groups of five and six, the WP leaders and members introduced themselves to residents while selling the party’s newsletter, The Hammer.

Three teams concentrated on the fringe of the market while a team led by Mr Low weaved its way through the breakfast crowd at the food centre.

At least 1,000 copies of The Hammer were sold. Its sale will take place every week, “barring exceptional situations such as when we run out of copies or new editions are not ready”, Mr Low said.

Last Sunday, he had led a similar constituency visit in Hougang, where he is the MP, and its neighbouring Aljunied GRC. It was the party’s first walkabout after the election of its new Central Executive Council on July 16. Like yesterday’s outing, young members were a dominant presence then.

They met residents in Mr Low’s Hougang ward before fanning out in Aljunied GRC, where the party got 43.9 per cent of the votes in this year’s General Election.

Among the new members is businessman Dexter Yeo, 32.

Yesterday, he was in charge of taking snapshots of the morning’s activities for publication on the party’s website.

“They seemed rather short-handed, so I decided to come and help out,” he told The Straits Times. Mr Yeo said he joined the WP recently because “it is a credible party” and he was impressed by their performance during the election.

In explaining the active participation of the young members, the party’s organising secretary Yaw Shin Leong said: “We need to strengthen our base and expose the younger members to different roles and responsibilities.”

Mr Yaw, an IT consultant, foresees their role expanding further when some among them are elected into the executive committee of WP’s Youth Wing next month, during its Youth Conference.

kenkwek@sph.com.sg

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