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WP won't be affected by retirement of a leader: Sylvia Lim

Party members discuss election issues in its first 40-minute show

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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 said.

Singapore

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 said.

In the first episode of WP's Hammer Show, which was streamed Wednesday evening on Facebook, Sylvia Lim paid tribute to former chief Low Thia Khiang, who has decided not to contest in the July 10 General Election after 29 years.

"Mr Low's strong and steady hand has been a major factor that enabled WP to sustain electoral success for the past few elections," Ms Lim said in Mandarin. However, she said the party, which was established in 1957 by David Marshall, will never be affected by the retirement of a leader because its members are united by its mission and sense of duty.

The 40-minute show featured a panel discussion with East Coast GRC candidate Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim, Sengkang GRC candidate Louis Chua Kheng Wee, Hougang SMC candidate Dennis Tan and moderators Ms Lim and party chief Pritam Singh.

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It was also interspersed with recorded messages by 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 touched on why they decided to join WP and issues they felt should be addressed.

Assoc Prof Lim's message touched on his concerns about telltale signs that the Singapore model is no longer fit for its purpose despite serving 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, 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," Ms Seah 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 a fake news and reserved presidency bills, she said, despite resistance from some quarters of society.

Mr Chua said the role of a parliamentarian is to scrutinise bills before they're passed as law, adding that MPs should vote against bills they do not believe are beneficial to Singaporeans. "Is that something that PAP MPs necessarily are able to do?"

On that note, Mr Tan urged voters not to be "deceived" by the Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) scheme by thinking that they are equivalent to an elected opposition voice in Parliament.

Asked why voters should consider WP, Mr Tan 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," Mr Tan said.

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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