SINGAPORE: The Workers’ Party’s (WP) expulsion of former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Daniel Goh earlier this month has received mixed reactions, with some saying the party made the right decision while others have questioned the lack of transparency over the issue from the WP’s leadership.
While the WP has yet to address the issue, one former member has asserted that the expulsion points to bigger problems within the only opposition party currently elected to Parliament.
Assoc Prof Goh announced last Thursday (1 June) that he has been expelled from the WP with immediate effect for disclosing information regarding the party’s “inner workings.”
Although the ex-NCMP did not elaborate on the details of the “inner workings” he referred to, he had previously mentioned in 2022 that WP had established a disciplinary committee to investigate his Facebook posts about the Raeesah Khan saga.
He had claimed that the committee wanted to interview him as his posts allegedly exposed the party’s operations to their political opponents and cast doubt on the leadership’s character.
Assoc Prof Goh had made several Facebook posts concerning how the party handled Raeesah Khan’s admission of lying in Parliament in 2021. In one post, Assoc Prof Goh had urged the party’s disciplinary panel, responsible for investigating Raeesah’s admission, not to throw her under the bus.
Some WP supporters took a dim view of these Facebook posts, interpreting his comments as an attack on the party during a difficult time. These critics have welcomed the WP’s decision to expel Assoc Prof Goh, positing that it would be difficult for the party leadership to trust him given his actions.
Some others are siding with Assoc Prof Goh. One of these critics is Yudhishthra Nathan – a former WP member involved in the Raeesah Khan investigation.
Mr Nathan was also unhappy with the way WP handled the Raeesah Khan episode and had suggested last year that the party may have been restrictive when it came to the way members expressed themselves. When he announced his resignation on 9 Nov 2022, Mr Nathan and his colleague, Loh Pei Ying, said:
“We want to return to being regular citizens, free to express ourselves as individuals, without others questioning our loyalties and allegiances.”
In a Facebook post published the same night Assoc Prof Goh announced his expulsion, Mr Nathan vouched for the ex-NCMP and emphasized the key role he played within the party.
Revealing that Assoc Prof Goh gave him a role within the policy team a decade ago when he was only 18, Mr Nathan said:
“Indeed, without Daniel’s almost academic approach to policy, the WP probably wouldn’t have had a robust manifesto in GE2015, relevant for modern times. Current WP MPs would do well to remember that it was this manifesto which formed the basis of the one they campaigned and got elected on in 2020.”
He added, “What the public also probably doesn’t know is that Daniel Goh helped modernise much of the WP’s media outreach efforts through his leadership of the party’s media team.
“It was a team where it didn’t matter if you were a MP or the newest volunteer – anyone in the team could pitch ideas, could criticise the approach. With Daniel’s encouragement, we dared to try new things on social media to set us apart from the PAP.”
Sharing that Assoc Prof Goh’s approach laid the foundation for how the WP media team operated, Mr Nathan said: “Daniel’s expulsion from the WP is but symptomatic of much bigger problems in the country’s largest Opposition party in Parliament today.”
He added that he looks back on his time at WP with Assoc Prof Goh fondly and “with sorrow, for the WP we joined – that rational, progressive force built up in many ways by Mr Low Thia Khiang – was not the WP we left.”