by Tan Kwong Moh
The Workers' Party just celebrated its 60th anniversary on 3 Nov 2017 and launched a Commemorative Book (WALKING WITH SINGAPORE), to commemorate its achievements and progress for the past few decades.
At the same time, Mr Low Thia Khiang announced he will be stepping down as Secretary-General next year. This is to pave the way for its new leader to take over the ruins.
We hope WP will continue to grow under the new leadership, to achieve and build a robust foundation as a stronger opposition party in Singapore.
For the past few decades, in spite of an uneven playing field and an adverse political environment, WP was still able to grow as a large and most organised opposition party in Singapore with 6 Members of Parliament (MP) and 3 non-constituency members of Parliament (NCMPs).
WP enjoys a strong support from Singaporeans and draws huge crowds to its rallies during its election campaign.
Under the political system with ONE party in absolute domination, it is not easy for opposition parties because of many restrictions and also lack of financially support for them.
For example, when J B Jeyaretnam (JBJ) won a seat in 1981 Anson by-election, the Housing Development Board (HDB) built a simple MP office for him at Blk 135 BT Merah. But later on, HDB amended the rule or constitution saying that HDB won't build any office for MP again and had it demolished. Since then, all opposition MPs have to conduct the Meet-the-People Sessions at the void deck.
What kind of a wonderful impression for foreigners to observe this scenario where MPs from the ruling party sit inside comfortable conditioned offices while opposition MPs only can use the void decks as their office.
Moreover, People Association as a government body, with its Resident Councils (RCs) or Citizens' Consultative Committees (CCCs) will never invite the opposition party MPs to its events or activities. Why only invite ruling party MPs, not the opposition MPs? Why does the PA not appoint opposition party MPs as grassroots leader? It will make work easier for the MPs because many proposals or applications must seek approval from grassroots leaders.
For the sake of our future, we all Singaporeans must build an inclusive society, work together regardless of political party and political belief. If possible, a merger of opposition parties is a good news for Singaporeans.