Straits Times: Under fire but WP leader re-elected

He retains post in CEC despite flak over his voting for PAP man in 2006 General Election


WORKERS’ Party leader Yaw Shin Leong has retained his post in the Central Executive Committee (CEC) despitesome objections from within the party ranks.

According to party sources, Mr Yaw got a lot offlak during the CEC election on Sunday for making public in May that he had voted for the People’s Action Party (PAP) in the 2006 General Election.

Still, he garnered enough votes to stay on the CEC, the party’s decision-making body.

And, last night, when the leadership line-up for the next two years was finalised, Mr Yaw was named to his old post of organising secretary.

However, an extra organising-secretary post was added to the CEC, which now has 14 members. Holding the position is the former deputy treasurer, Ms Ng Swee Bee, 28.

Commenting on his re-appointment last night, Mr Yaw said: “This is a massive responsibility to discharge and I really respect the decision of the cadres.”

Earlier, on Monday, he downplayed the criticism, saying that some cadres just wanted him to explain his actions.

The 32-year-old businessman told The Straits Times: “Some cadres wanted to know exactly what transpired…So I gave them a brief summary of all that had happened and they accepted my explanation.”

He had revealed in his blog that he had voted for the PAP’s Dr Teo Ho Pin over the Singapore Democratic Party’s Mr Ling How Doong in the Bukit Panjang constituency, as he believed in voting for the better candidate.

The disclosure earned him criticism as well as praise.

However, he changed his mind last month. He saidthat his actions contradicted the efforts to urge voters to value the choice provided by opposition candidates.

When asked about the re-appointment, party chairman Sylvia Lim gave a non-committal reply: “Basically, he got re-elected by the cadres. I can’t tell you what was on the minds of the cadres at that time, but that was their decisionand that is how the party functions.”

The new CEC saw no changes at the top: Ms Lim, a Non-Constituency MP, remained chairman and Hougang MP Low Thia Khiang, the secretary-general.

Bank manager Eric Tan, 52, also kept the treasurer post.

However, Ms Lim said, the party was continuing its leadership renewal process and pointed to three new faces on the CEC.

But this was fewer than the seven introduced in July 2006, who replaced half the CEC.

The current newcomers are Mr Koh Choong Yong, 35, who runs an IT consultancy; businessman Png Eng Huat, 47; and human resource trainer Lilian Lee, 29.

Mr Koh is the webmaster, Mr Png, the deputy webmaster and Ms Lee, the deputy treasurer.

Said Mr Png:”As a CEC member, I hope to raise the party’s profile as a credible opposition.”

Meanwhile, the party has lost two young CEC members: senior sales coordinator Abdul Salim, 27, and editorial and translation executive Lee Wai Leng, 29.

Both were in the six-man team that contested Ang Mo Kio GRC in the 2006 polls.

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