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WP will never be affected by retirement of a leader: chairman Sylvia Lim

THE Workers’ Party (WP) will never be affected by the retirement of a leader despite the many challenges it has faced in its six-decade history, the party’s chairman, Sylvia Lim, has said.

This is because its members are united in mission and sense of duty, she said, as she paid tribute to former party chief Low Thia Khiang, who has decided against contesting in the General Election after 29 years. 

Ms Lim was speaking in the first episode of WP’s Hammer Show, which was streamed on Facebook on Wednesday evening. 

Speaking in Mandarin, she said: “Mr Low’s strong and steady hand has been a major factor that has enabled WP to sustain electoral success for the past few elections."  

The 40-minute show featured a panel discussion with some candidates the party is fielding in Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) and Single Member Constituencies (SMCs): Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim (who is standing in East Coast GRC), Chua Kheng Wee (Sengkang GRC) and Dennis Tan (Hougang SMC).

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Ms Lim and party chief Pritam Singh were moderators.

The discussion was interspersed with recorded messages from Aljunied GRC candidates Gerald Giam and Faisal Manap, East Coast GRC candidate Nicole Seah and Sengkang GRC candidate Jamus Lim.

Throughout the show, party members spoke about why they joined WP and issues they felt should be addressed.

The message from the Sengkang GRC candidate, Assoc Prof Lim, covered his concerns about telltale signs that the Singapore model is no longer fit for its purpose, despite having served the country well in the past. He said if Singapore does not push for more pluralism and inclusivity, the country’s complacency could unravel its achievements.

“I joined the Workers’ Party because I believe that the only way for Singapore to succeed in the 21st century is to reject the notion that there is only one recipe for what it means to have a modern, successful society,” he said.

In a message addressing younger voters, East Coast GRC candidate Ms Seah urged voters to take the opportunity to choose the government they want to see.

“We can have a government that chooses to listen to its people and keeps its feet on the ground. We saw that in 2011, as the government shifted dramatically to be a more compassionate one with social reforms,” she said.

She warned against the “complete dominance of a single party”, which she said means the party will do what it pleases. This has already happened in the past five years, with the passing of the fake news and reserved presidency bills, she said, despite resistance from some quarters of society.

Sengkang GRC candidate Mr Chua said the role of a parliamentarian is to scrutinise bills before they are passed as law, and that MPs should vote against bills they do not believe are beneficial to Singaporeans. “Is that something that PAP MPs are necessarily able to do?”

On that note, Hougang SMC candidate Mr Tan warned voters against being “deceived” by the Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) scheme, thinking that being an NCMP is equivalent to being an elected opposition voice in Parliament.

Asked why voters should consider WP, he said these uncertain times are exactly why it is not the right time to give the PAP a strong mandate.

“It is actually the right time to elect more WP MPs into Parliament, to scrutinise the government to ensure that Singapore comes out from the Covid-19 crisis in the right way,” he said.

East Coast GRC candidate Mr Shariff added: “Going forward, the social and economic landscapes are going to become even more complex. It is very hard to imagine that given these complexities, one party has all the solutions for the future. I would urge Singaporeans not to place all their eggs in one party’s basket.”

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