Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh credited party member Lee Li Lian for kickstarting the Mid Autumn community event at the Eunos division of Aljunied GRC nearly a decade ago, in a Facebook post published on Thursday (1 Oct).
Sharing photos from the Mid Autumn Celebration from two years ago, Mr Pritam recalled how Eunos has been holding this community event for several years but cannot do so this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Assuring his followers that the event will be back, the Leader of the Opposition thanked Ms Lee for kickstarting the community initiative.
He wrote: “Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to all Singaporeans and friends who celebrate this auspicious day! For many years, Team Eunos has celebrated the day with residents at the open plaza in Eunos Spring. But COVID-19 has put paid to many community activities.
“I miss looking forward to meeting residents and children who all enjoy the lantern walk around this estate. But my memories of each celebration, every year are still fresh (Thank you Lee Li Lian 李丽连 for kick-starting this community event in Eunos in 2011!)
“We’ll be back. Until then, blessings and all good tidings to one and all once again on the occasion of the Mid-Autumn Festival!”
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to all Singaporeans and friends who celebrate this auspicious day! For many years, Team Eunos…
Ms Lee, who has a background in finance, joined the Workers’ Party (WP) more than a decade ago and was elected into the WP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) in 2008 after some time volunteering on the ground. She was fielded as a WP candidate for the first time in the 2011 general election and contested Punggol East Single Member Ward (SMC).
Punggol East SMC was freshly carved out of the neighbouring Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency (GRC) ahead of the election. The WP’s new candidate faced off with Michael Palmer, a People’s Action Party (PAP) incumbent who had served as one of the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MPs prior to the election.
Ms Lee ultimately lost to Mr Palmer, who was later made Speaker of Parliament, but garnered an impressive 41.01 per cent of votes – a remarkable feat for a fresh face standing in a single member ward.
In December 2012, however, Mr Palmer resigned from his parliamentary posts due to an extra-marital affair with an employee of the People’s Association (PA) and his ward was left vacant.
In the ensuing by-election, Ms Lee was picked as the WP’s choice to contest the ward and she faced a rare four-cornered contest, with new PAP candidate Koh Poh Koon – a colorectal surgeon who had just joined the PAP three months prior – and two other opposition parties joining the fray.
In a historic upset, Ms Lee emerged the victor at the polls with 54.50 per cent of the vote and became Singapore’s first female opposition politician to control a single member ward. The win also marked the second time since 1981 that the WP had captured a parliamentary seat after a by-election.
Ms Lee was fielded to defend her seat in the 2015 General Election, which was held months after Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew passed. The PAP fielded six-term MP and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Charles Chong in Ms Lee’s ward and the WP was narrowly defeated with 48.24 per cent of the vote compared to the PAP’s 51.76 per cent.
Although Ms Lee was offered a Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) position since she received one of the best scores among opposition candidates who failed to clinch a ward, she declined the offer and the seat went to the WP’s candidate for East Coast GRC, Daniel Goh.
Mr Chong retired from politics ahead of the 2020 general election and the hotly contested Punggol East SMC was absorbed into the new Sengkang GRC. Ms Lee, who had remained an active WP member after the last election, was spotted walking the ground in the ward and was widely expected to be fielded as part of the WP’s team in Sengkang.
Although Ms Lee was prominent in the WP’s pre-election campaign, she ultimately did not contest Sengkang GRC or any other ward. Instead, she helped the WP team contesting in Sengkang – He Ting Ru, Jamus Lim, Raeesah Khan and Louis Chua.
The opposition party pulled off what seemed like an impossible feat at Sengkang when it emerged the victor at the polls. Following the election, it was announced that the new Sengkang GRC MPs would be running their own town council and that Ms Lee will serve as one of the town councillors.