Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Pritam Singh revealed last week that party members encouraged Low Thia Khiang to focus on his recovery while they take care of constituency and party matters.
Mr Low hurt his head after suffering a fall at his home on 30 April. The veteran politician was warded in the intensive care unit for five days before he was moved to a general ward. He was discharged from Khoo Teck Puat General Hospital on 21 May and is presently on hospitalisation leave.
Former WP non-constituency member of parliament Gerald Giam is covering Mr Low’s duties as one of the Aljunied GRC MPs and town councillors, during his absence.
In a Facebook post published on Tuesday (2 June), Mr Pritam said that he spoke to Mr Low and that the former opposition party chief is recuperating at home. Mr Pritam wrote: “I spoke to Mr Low on the phone two days ago. He is recuperating at home. Thank you everyone for your concern. The WP MPs encouraged Mr Low to focus on his recovery and not to worry about anything else. We’ve got this!”
Mr Low joined the WP in 1982 and was subsequently appointed as its Organising Secretary. At the 1984 general election, he was the election agent for the party’s secretary-general, J. B. Jeyaretnam, in his successful campaign to win Anson constituency.
After losing the 1988 General Election with 42.2 per cent of the vote, Mr Low won Hougang SMC in the 1991 General Election and entered Parliament. He was re-elected as MP for Hougang SMC in the 1997, 2001 and 2006 General Elections and became the Secretary-General of the Workers’ Party, replacing J. B. Jeyaretnam, in 2001.
Between 1997 and 2011, Mr Low and Singapore People’s Party leader Chiam See Tong were the only elected opposition MPs in Parliament. At the 2011 general election, both Mr Low and Mr Chiam left their seats in Hougang and Potong Pasir SMC respectively to contest in Aljunied GRC and Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC respectively, risking the fact that there will be no elected opposition MPs in Parliament.
Mr Low’s gamble paid off as he led the Workers’ Party to a historic breakthrough in the election, with a victory in Aljunied GRC. The win marked the first time ever that an opposition party had won a GRC, bringing an additional five Workers’ Party MPs into Parliament. His previous seat in Hougang SMC was retained by the Workers’ party and is now held by Png Eng Huat.
The WP won and retained their seats in Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC during the 2015 General Election. This was Mr Low’s sixth continuous win as an elected opposition MP.
Mr Low did not contest the WP’s internal election in 2018, after being at its helm for 17 years, and fellow Aljunied GRC MP Pritam Singh eventually succeeded Mr Low as secretary-general.
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