Workers’ Party (WP) Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang said today that Singaporeans need to think hard whether it “continues to be a good model for Singapore” for the government to “cast a long shadow over every aspect of life, society, organisation, profession”.
Speaking at a press conference today, the WP unveiled its party campaign slogan, “Empower your future” and 4 non-Member of Parliament candidates. During the conference, Mr Low said that the world is different from what it was 50 years ago and now Singapore “has many local talents compared to in the past”.
“So what we have relied on to succeed in the past 50 years, may or may not be the same model and formula for us to succeed in the future.”
Mr Low told voters that they would have to decide “whether or not you want to continue to allow the PAP decide your future, (or to) have a say in the future you want.”
Noting the start made towards “a First World Parliament” – the basis of the WP’s Manifesto in 2011, when it won six seats in Parliament – he called on voters to “entrench” the process towards a Parliament with more checks and balances, to “keep the Government on its toes” and responsive to people’s needs.
When reporters asked about Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s comment earlier in the morning – where he said that the Opposition was arrogant and like the rooster that that thinks its crowing causes the sun to rise — WP chairman Sylvia Lim said: “We leave it to Singaporeans to judge whether his Government has become more responsive since 2011.”
Noting how things are run in top-down fashion in Singapore, Ms Lim said this was “unhealthy”.
She says that many Singaporeans are passionate about their causes and that Singaporeans “should let such passion to take us to the next level” without the need to rely on some “Government appointee to be there to steer the direction.”
“It’s about people being able to run things themselves. We don’t see a need for Government involvement in everything.”
In addition to unveiling its party slogan and candidates, Ms Lim revealed that Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) had completed an audit of its accounts and would be submitting their statements for FY 14/15 soon: “After working very hard, we have completed our audit for FY14/15 and in the next few days we will be filing our audited accounts.”
She says that the party was willing to talk about its record of running the AHPETC at the elections.
When reporters quizzed the party about its process of leadership renewal, Mr Low assured voters that the WP has made “good progress” and depending on the results of this election, the younger WP leaders would step forward to take their places.
Mr Low also spoke about his views on opposition unity and the unique path taken by the WP.
“I made it very clear at the Punggol East by-election in a speech, that we have different objectives, different leadership.”
Mr Low recounted how he came under pressure in 2001 when the newly-formed Singapore Democratic Alliance wanted the WP to join its fold. However, he chose not to join the SDA and decided to build a party that offered Singaporeans a credible choice first.
“We built ourselves up and today, after 20 years, we are still talking about Opposition unity. The Workers’ Party has taken its own path, and I believe that is the path on which we can build a credible party to offer Singaporeans a credible choice. And I think we will continue with that path.”