Straits Times: Workers’ Party to contest all 58 seats

SINGAPORE, Wed.


JEYARETNAM … no ties with Reds

THE Workers’ Party is to contest all 58 seats at the next general elections in 1973.

Announcing this at a press conference today, party chairman Mr. Heng Swee Tong, 37, a book publisher, said:

“We want to capture power. We will try to co-operate with the other Opposition parties and those who are honest, responsible and dedicated.”

But his party would not co-operate with the communists.

This was explained at the conference called by secretary-general Mr. J.B. Jeyaretnam, 45, a lawyer, to introduce his 14-man executive council since the party was re-activated in June.

On its relationship with neigbouring countries, the party said it intended to “pay more attention” to what Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Manila were thinking, rather than what London or Washington was thinking.

“We realise that our survival depends on our maintaining friendly relations with countries in this region. In the wider setting, we shall strive to avoid being committed to bloc or camp,” the party said.

Resolutions

According to Mr. Jeyaretnam, a Workers’ Party government will:

RECONSIDER the present necessity for annual review of press licences;

WORK towards a regional common market and encourage foreign investment;

REPEAL the Employment Act and introduce suitable legislation and amend the Industrial Relations Ordinance. It will also work towards a system of profit-sharing and equity participation with employees;

RAISE the standard of education in vernacular primary schools to the same level as that of English primary schools and ensure bilingualism in secondary stream;

RESTORE University of Singapore to its traditional role “from its present role of being a government high school.”

ABOLISH suitability certificates in institutions of higher learning;

INTRODUCE legislation to reduce concentration of power given to Ministers and provide for appeal from executive decisions to an independent tribunal;

AMEND the Internal Security Act “to provide safeguards against possible abuse of this power” and review the detention of all detainees;

RESTORE “freedom of speech and freedom of association” within the framework of the law.

Freer movement

REVIEW immigration policy and repeal a provision in the Constitution which empowers a Minister to deprive people of citizenship and give the power to a tribunal;

EXCHANGE views with Malaysia towards abolishing of work permits to allow a freer movement of the people on both sides of the causeway;

INTRODUCE legislation to amend the laws governing terms and conditions of land acquisition;

SET up a unified body to take over all bus services;

INTRODUCE a national health scheme and

REVIEW the role of the People’s Association.

On foreign policy, the party said it was in favour of a one China policy in the United Nations.

Mr. Heng said: “We believe that the Security Council seat should go to the Peoples Republic of China.

“But Taiwan should not be expelled from the United Nations.

“I think China and Taiwan will go into dialogue to sort things out themselves.”

To a question on the nation defence pact, Mr. Jeyaretnam said his party would like it to be effective by having regular defence arrangements with Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

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