Voting for a constructive and “credible” alternative party is of paramount importance in the coming polls, said the Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Pritam Singh in a virtual press conference on Friday (27 June).
Pointing out that WP is only contesting 21 seats in contrast to the People’s Action Party (PAP)’s decision to contest all 93 seats in this year’s election, Mr Singh said that PAP will still have “a strong mandate” either way.
What is more crucial, he stressed, is ensuring that a “credible opposition elected to Parliament”, and the only way to do so is for “Singaporeans to make their vote count”.
Responding on which candidates WP will field in the constituencies it has announced — other than those slated to campaign in Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC — Mr Singh noted that being a “small player in the political scene” where there are “not many elements in our favour”, the party will continue to keep its cards close to its chest and made such matters be known on Nomination Day.
Replying to a question on what actions WP would take if it was embroiled in a similar controversy surrounding one of PAP’s new candidates Ivan Lim, Mr Singh said that there is “no failsafe mechanism” to prevent such issues.
In terms of choosing its candidates for elections, Mr Singh said that WP picks candidates who usually start out as volunteers — many of whom are heavily involved with grassroots work — before joining the party as members.
Senior party members, he said, observe potential candidates and then “make a judgement call” based on “all of the information available” in their hands at the time, in addition to spending “some time to speak and understand them”.
Responding to a question on the recent public donation made by Harvard economics professor Li Shengwu — the son of newly minted Progress Singapore Party member Lee Hsien Yang, who is also the brother of former Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong — Mr Singh said that while WP has always been open about the source of its donations, he declined to comment on matters concerning Dr Li’s donation “due to obvious reasons”.
He noted, however, that “it speaks well that people participate in politics in such a way” to help the growth of the political parties they support and believe in.
Mr Singh in today’s press conference also confirmed that WP will release its manifesto for GE 2020 tomorrow.