SINGAPORE: The Workers’ Party usually distributes its Hammer newspaper on Sunday mornings. The WP team and volunteers meet and interact with Singaporeans in different areas, which is likely why they call the activity their Hammer Outreach.

Last weekend, the WP team was at Rivervale Plaza and Kopitiam Square at Compassvale, part of Sengkang GRC. They were represented in Parliament by Ms He Ting Ru, Mr Louis Chua, and Assoc Prof Jamus Lim. This morning, the team also went to Punggol.

Assoc Prof Lim explained in a Tuesday (April 15) Facebook post that selling the Hammer has been a traditional way for the WP to inform people about its interventions in Parliament and its activities on the ground.

“While these are occasionally reported in the mainstream media, our sentiments are sometimes inadequately captured; the paper therefore allows us to convey these efforts in a more holistic way.

It also allows us to headline the issues that we, as a Party, believe are important on the ground (the most recent headline, for example, is about the cost of living crisis),” he added.

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Screengrab/WP

However, during last weekend’s Hammer Outreach, one resident asked him why the WP charges for the newspaper instead of merely giving it away for free.

Screengrab/WP
Screengrab/WP

He explained that while “a modest amount of money” is raised through the Hammer’s sales, “in many ways” the financing the WP receives from the paper is secondary, and if anyone interested in obtaining the Hammer approaches the team and can ill afford to buy a copy, they are “always more than happy to hand one over for free.”

Assoc Prof Lim added that he believes selling the Hammer instead of giving it away “also sends an important message: that if we want a richer perspective on the news, if we wish to support those who speak up for what’s in the hearts of the people, and if we value a vibrant democracy, then the contribution helps keep this endeavor going.”

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During last weekend’s Hammer Outreach at Sengkang and Punggol, most of the WP’s Members of Parliament were present, from Secretary General Leader of the Opposition Mr Pritam Singh, party chair Ms Sylvia Lim, and Mr Gerald Giam, all of whom represent Aljunied GRC; Mr Dennis Tan, Hougang SMC; and Ms He, Mr Chua, and Assoc Prof Lim. Only Mr Faisal Manap, the party’s vice chair and an Aljunied MP, appeared absent.

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Screengrab/WP

Present, however, and lending some of his star power was Mr Low Thia Khiang, Mr Singh’s predecessor as Secretary-General of the WP.

Mr Low has been the longest-serving opposition MP in Singapore, representing Hougang SMC from 1991 to 2011 and Aljunied GRC from 2011 to 2020.

He announced before the GE in 2020 that he would not contest that year but has remained active in the WP. /TISG

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