SINGAPORE: Singapore’s alternative party Workers’ Party has been actively engaging with everyday Singaporeans as anticipation grows regarding a potential early General Election in 2024.
During a recent outreach initiative on Sunday (19 Nov), prominent leaders such as WP Chief Pritam Singh, Chairman Sylvia Lim, Aljunied MP Gerald Giam, Hougang MP Dennis Tan, alongside dedicated volunteers, were visibly present at the walkabout.
The enthusiasm among Workers’ Party (WP) supporters is palpable with the notable inclusion of distinguished Singaporean Senior Counsel, Harpreet Singh, who actively engaged in selling the Hammer newsletter to residents in Marine Parade.
Mr Harpreet Singh’s participation alongside other WP members has been captured in photographs dating back to August 2023.
The recent appearance of Mr Harpreet Singh in the Workers’ Party (WP) uniform, as seen in Mr Muhammad Fadli Mohammed Fawzi’s Facebook photos, has fueled speculation about his potential candidacy and role in the team preparing to contest in Marine Parade GRC, where Mr Fadli previously competed in the 2020 General Election.
The post by Mr Fadli Fawzi detailed their engagement at symbolic locations at the GRC such as Marine Terrace Market and Food Centre, Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, Haig Road Market and Food Centre, as well as several coffee shops and eateries within the Marine Parade GRC.
Meanwhile, Nathaniel Koh, the Workers’ Party’s deputy treasurer and acting President of the WP Youth Wing, also took an active role in documenting and sharing a series of photos highlighting the WP’s outreach efforts in the Marine Parade GRC.
Mr Singh’s stance on crucial Singaporean issues
Mr Harpreet Singh has been actively vocal about issues of significant interest to the people of Singapore.
These encompass the high-profile case of former domestic worker Parti Liyani, and the policies concerning migrant workers’ dormitories during the pandemic COVID-19, and he has also penned several strongly-worded articles addressing recent controversies in the past few months.
He questioned the decision of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) not to prosecute six former senior management members of Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (KOM).
Furthermore, he commented on alleged violations of the Ministerial Code of Conduct by two Singaporean ministers in relation to their leasing of properties in the Ridout Road area.
WP’s chances at Marine Parade GRC
Mr Harpreet Singh’s involvement with the Workers’ Party (WP) team for the upcoming General Election in Marine Parade GRC is viewed by some supporters as a potential ‘game changer,’ especially following Mr Tan Chuan-Jin’s resignation in July this year.
In the 2020 General Election, the WP team for Marine Parade GRC consisted of Nathaniel Koh, Mr Fawzi, former Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong, Ron Tan Jun Yen (a senior assistant manager at the National University Health System Research Office), and small business owner Muhammad Azhar Abdul Latip.
The People’s Action Party (PAP) team, led by then-Parliament Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin, won the GRC with 57.76% of the votes. The PAP team included Tan Chuan-Jin, Edwin Tong, Seah Kian Peng, Tan See Leng, and Fahmi Aliman, with two members holding ministerial portfolios.
In July, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced at a press conference that Mr Tan resigned from his roles as Parliament Speaker and Marine Parade GRC MP due to an extramarital affair scandal involving another MP from the People’s Action Party.
WP’s engagement in East Coast GRC
On a separate front, the Workers’ Party’s official Facebook page documented the outreach initiative led by Mr Kenneth Foo Seck Guan, the WP’s Deputy Organising Secretary, and his team at Bedok 16 Market and Hawker Centre.
In a post written in Mandarin, Kenneth Foo highlighted the valuable feedback received from residents on a range of issues, notably concerning the youth.
He emphasized the Workers’ Party Youth Wing’s consistent focus on youth-centric matters. Their active engagement involves discussions on topics that resonate with young individuals, such as advocating for a lower voting age and proposing modifications to the pricing framework for government housing estates.
“These proposals are formulated after gathering opinions from various societal levels, including the youth, through networking.”
“The Workers’ Party will continue engaging with the people in various ways to understand their sentiments and, in turn, further implement policy reforms,” Mr Foo added.
During the GE 2020, Mr Foo contested in East Coast GRC alongside wealth advisory firm director Dylan Ng Foo Eng, lawyer Terence Tan Li-Chern, former researcher Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim, and then WP Youth Wing president Nicole Seah.
Despite their efforts, the PAP team, anchored by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, along with incumbents Dr Maliki Osman and Ms Jessica Tan, in addition to Ms Cheryl Chan and Mr Tan Kiat How, with the promise of the “East Coast Plan”, secured victory in the GRC with 53.39 per cent of the vote.
PM Lee announced at the PAP 2023 awards and convention his plan to pass the leadership baton to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong before the next General Election, scheduled to occur by November 2025.
He remarked that this election will align with the party’s leadership transition to the 4G team, potentially around the PAP’s 70th anniversary on 21 November 2024.
‘Lawrence has told me that he is ready, and this morning you have heard him say he is prepared for his next assignment. I have full confidence in Lawrence and his team, so there is no reason to delay the political transition. Therefore, I intend to hand over to DPM Lawrence before the next GE,’ Mr Lee stated.
Based on PM Lee’s comments, it is reasonable to expect that the General Election will take place next year, before the party’s anniversary in November.