Straits Times: Youth Wing: WP’s building block

BY AARON LOW

THE Workers’ Party (WP) intends to rely on its youth wing to bring in new members, as part of broader plans to reach out to a younger generation of voters.

Established in June last year, the youth wing, which the WP says has 100 members, aims to double its membership yearly, its president Perry Tong said yesterday.

Youth wing members automatically become WP members.

“The youth wing will be driving the recruitment of the party itself and I hope we can increase our membership by 100 per cent every year,” said the 35-year-old management consultant, speaking ahead of the youth wing’s annual conference on Sunday.

The youth wing will also serve as a “test bed for new and different ideas” which, if found workable, will be adopted by the party itself.

One such idea: a faster pace of rejuvenation and renewal of leadership posts. At Sunday’s conference, Mr Tong will suggest members put this into practice. But he declined to go into details.

The youth wing’s president is elected by the WP’s central executive committee. But its vice-president, secretary and six executive council members are picked by youth wing members.

All the executive council members, including the president, serve a two-year term. There is no limit on how often they can be re-elected.

The WP has seen its ranks grow by more than 100 members after the May general election, when it was the best performer among the opposition parties, winning 38.4 per cent of valid votes. Mr Tong said a “substantial” number of new members are young Singaporeans.

The WP has been busy on other fronts. It brought in new members to its Hougang constituency committee, spruced up its website with new content, and reorganised its area committees.

These include having a new central area committee led by organising secretary Yaw Shin Leong, 30. The IT consultant led the WP team that lost in Ang Mo Kio GRC.

His committee will cover Ang Mo Kio GRC, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and Yio Chu Kang as part of plans for the next general election due by 2011.

He said the committee will have some 20 members, and he hopes to start activities like house-to-house visits in the next two months.

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