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We want a balance so people can see clearly the road ahead: WP chief Pritam Singh

Party eyeing East Coast, Marine Parade and Sengkang GRCs, on top of plans to defend its Aljunied-Hougang stronghold

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Singapore — The Workers’ Party (WP) aims to create balance in Government so that the people can more clearly see the road ahead, according to a new campaign video released following news that the next General Election will be held on July 10.

On Wednesday (June 24), a day after the GE news, it released a campaign video entitled “GE2020: Make Your Vote Count”. Setting out its aims, WP Secretary-General Pritam Singh said: “I think for the Workers’ Party, not everything is black and white.

“When it’s too bright, it becomes too blinding for anyone to see properly. Too dark, it will be hard to look for a way around. What we hope to achieve is to create contrast. A balance, so that you can see clearly the road ahead.”

The video, which features 12 WP members including Mr Singh, broadly set forth what the WP represents in Singapore’s political atmosphere. Members spoke about the Singapore they remember growing up in and why they chose to join the opposition.

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The 12 members also shared about the party’s activities, like work in Parliament and the Town Council office, Meet-the-People Sessions, food distribution drives, walkabouts and other forms of political outreach.

The WP was the only elected opposition party in Parliament in its last term, holding a Group Representation Constituency (GRC) and a Single-Member Constituency (SMC) with six elected Members of Parliament (MPs).

While it contested 10 wards in the last elections, it is said to be planning to stand in only five wards this time. It reportedly has its sights set on East Coast GRC, Marine Parade GRC and the new Sengkang GRC, on top of plans to defend its Aljunied-Hougang stronghold.

The WP was founded in 1957 by Mr David Marshall, who had been the country’s first Chief Minister.

The party made history in 1981 when Mr J.B. Jeyaretnam became the first opposition candidate to be elected to Parliament in post-independence Singapore.

In 1991, Mr Low Thia Khiang was elected MP for Hougang SMC and became the WP’s Secretary-General shortly thereafter. Mr Low successfully defended Hougang SMC in the 1997, 2001 and 2006 elections.

And 20 years after he was first elected in Hougang, he left the single-member ward to lead a team to contest in Aljunied GRC. The WP won both Hougang SMC and Aljunied GRC, becoming the first opposition party in Singapore’s history to win a GRC.

The WP also won the Punggol East SMC by-election in 2013, adding another MP to its slate of elected parliamentarians.

The WP went on to contest 10 wards in the 2015 General Election, which was held in the year that celebrated Singapore’s 50th year of independence. The election, which was held mere months after founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew passed away, saw the People’s Action Party (PAP) do better than it did in the watershed 2011 General Election.

The swing of votes towards the PAP saw the WP lose Punggol East SMC. The opposition party barely held on to Aljunied GRC, with 50.95 per cent of the vote compared to 54.71 per cent in the previous election. It also retained Hougang with a lower vote share of 57.7 per cent, compared to 62.1 per cent in a by-election in 2012. /TISG

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