Speculation has arisen that veteran opposition politician Low Thia Khiang may lead a Workers’ Party (WP) team to contest East Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in the next election, instead of running with his fellow parliamentarians at their Aljunied GRC homeground.
Mr Low – who entered Parliament in 1991 after winning Hougang Single Member Constituency (SMC) in that year’s General Election (GE) and was one of only two opposition politicians elected to Parliament throughout a ten year period – is no stranger to taking such gambles.
In the 2011 GE, he left his Hougang SMC base after a decade and led a team to contest Aljunied GRC. That year, the WP candidate fielded in Hougang SMC retained Mr Low’s former seat and Mr Low’s team also won Aljunied GRC. The WP continued to hold on to both Hougang SMC and Aljunied GRC in the 2015 GE.
The WP’s electoral victory in 2011 was historical since it marked the first time an opposition party had ever won a GRC, since Singapore attained independence. Under Mr Low’s leadership, the WP managed to beat all the odds and emerged as the victor, ousting then-Foreign Minister and Aljunied incumbent George Yeo from Parliament and the cabinet.
There is speculation that Mr Low may repeat what he did in 2011, by leaving his Aljunied base to lead a team to contest another GRC.
The WP first contested East Coast GRC in the 2006 General Election, where it received 36.1 per cent of the vote. In the 2011 GE, it won a much better margin of 45.2 per cent of the vote and came closer to beating the incumbent. The WP did not fare as well in the 2015 GE, receiving 39.3 per cent of the vote.
In a recent report, the national broadsheet cited unnamed party insiders and said: “There is also talk that Mr Low may take another gamble as he did in 2011 and move to East Coast GRC to lead the team there in the hope of scoring another GRC win. In 2011, he left his stronghold of Hougang to contest Aljunied GRC.”
The Chinese daily published similar speculation and said Mr Low may do what he did in the 2011 GE, by leaving his old ward to contest new ground.
There is further speculation that prominent WP non-constituency members of parliament (NCMPs) Daniel Goh and Leon Perera and ex-NCMPs Gerald Giam and Yee Jenn Jong may be part of the team contesting East Coast alongside Mr Low.
Another local publication, alternative news portal RedWire Times, quoted a “GE insider” and made similar conjecture. Citing unnamed sources, the publication said that Mr Low is “expected” to lead a WP team to contest East Coast GRC.
The Independent has reached out to the WP for comment and will update this article once we receive a response.