By Biddy Low
The Workers’ Party unveiled their latest group of potential candidates today at their party headquarters. Led by Sylvia Lim and Png Eng Huat, the four would-be politicians include Terence Tan Li Chern, 44, a lawyer with Peter Low LLC, Firuz Khan, 48, chocolate manufacturer, Cheryl Loh, 31, a sales consultant and ex-student of Sylvia Lim, and Luke Koh, 40, a holding company chief executive.
Mr Terence Tan, who also represented AHPETC in the ongoing case with the Ministry of National Development, has been a volunteer with the Party since 2011 and has been quite active on the ground in both Kaki Bukit and Joo Chiat. He also sits on several committees in the Law Society and helps out in Hougang’s Legal Clinic.
Mr Tan believes that “the govt has focused a little too much on short term economic gains, without sufficient regards to long term implications that affect all of us.” He reiterated the WP’s promise to be a strong opposition party that aims to steer policies in the right direction and an opposition which is not there just “for the sake of opposing”.
Nurturing and investing in our young, especially those who come from underprivileged backgrounds, seem to be the topic most of the candidates are most concerned with. Mr Firuz Khan and Miss Cheryl Loh each shared their personal reasons for wanting to give every child a fair go in life, starting with education.
Miss Cheryl Loh, who is of Peranakan lineage, spoke about growing up in a disadvantaged household where she had to see herself through secondary and tertiary education through part-time work. This has shaped her views on the importance of an educational system that leaves no child behind. She cites her late grandmother as an inspiration growing up and the reason for her fluency in Bahasa Melayu, which she addressed the room with later on as well.
Mr Firuz Khan attributed his motivation to serve to his stint as a manager in Pertapis Home for Children. He recalled an incident where parents could not even afford to make the trip to the home to visit their children on Family Day. Witnessing this and many other cases of poverty and abuse, strengthened his resolve to improve the situation.
Perhaps the most fiery speaker among the candidates was Mr Luke Koh, who criticized the “Stop at Two” campaign in the ’80s: “Many of our brothers and sisters are missing today because they were aborted 30 to 40 years ago; our mothers cried but nobody listened. The Graduate Mothers’ programme added insult to injury.”
He urged the public to pay attention as the Workers’ Party rolls out a series of proposals for policy changes, indicating that it will focus on investing in the Singaporean youth and placing the future of our country in the hands of a strong local talent pool.
This is the Worker’s Party second unveiling of candidates.