Singapore — Speculation is rife that Workers’ Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim may step down from the post she has held for the past 17 years at the party’s coming central executive committee (CEC) election.

Ms Lim joined the WP nearly two decades ago after feeling “distressed” that opposition parties were able to contest only one-third of the parliamentary seats during the 2001 General Election.

Ten days after those elections, she signed papers to become a member of the WP and,  within 18 months, in 2003, rose to become its chairman. She led the WP’s team in Aljunied GRC as a first-time candidate in the 2006 elections and received an impressive vote share of 43.9 per cent for a first-time candidate. She served as a Non-Constituency MP.

Ms Lim was elected to Parliament when the WP team won Aljunied GRC in 2011. She was re-elected as part of the Aljunied GRC team in the 2015 and 2020 elections.

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Ms Lim has been the opposition party’s longest-standing chairman since its founding in 1957. She ran for chairman unopposed at its last biennial CEC election in 2018.

The Lianhe Zaobao has reported that she may not stand for re-election at the next internal election, which is expected to take place on Dec 27.

While Ms Lim publicly stated her intention to seek re-election as WP chairman as far back as two months before the 2018 election, she has not explicitly stated that she is seeking re-election this time. She has also not responded to queries put forth by the publication.

Observers say that Ms Lim would be giving way for more leadership renewal within the party if she decides not to seek re-election. At the last CEC election, former WP chief Low Thia Khiang did not seek re-election and made way for Mr Pritam Singh to become secretary-general for the sake of leadership renewal. /TISG

Throwback video showing Sylvia Lim’s entry into politics goes viral online